National Green Tribunal (NGT): Functions, Chairman, Act | NGT UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

NGT, or National Green Tribunal, is a specialized quasi-judicial body that looks after the range of environmental disputes that also encompasses multi-disciplinary issues. It was formed in October 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act. NGT was established after replacing the then National Environment Appellate Authority. India has become the 3rd country after Australia and New Zealand to set up a specialized environmental tribunal. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) gets inspiration from the Fundamental Right (Article 21), and it is in consonance with the philosophies of the Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSPs: Article 48A), the Fundamental Duty (Article 51-A (g)) of the India Constitution.

National Green Tribunal UPSC is an indispensable topic for the IAS Exam as it finds a mention in the syllabus of the UPSC. Therefore, it is important to have a solid understanding and awareness of the developments in this field and widen the knowledge with NGT UPSC notes.

What is National Green Tribunal?

NGT full form is National Green Tribunal. It is a specialized judicial body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. It was introduced for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to the protection of forests, the environment, and natural resources.

National Green Tribunal (NGT) PDF

  • The headquarters of NGT is New Dehli.
  • The National Green Tribunal is situated in five places except for New Delhi as its headquarters. They are Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, and Chennai.
  • By setting up NGT, India became the third country in the world after New Zealand and Australia to introduce a specialized environmental tribunal.

National Green Tribunal Act

The National Green Tribunal Act 2010 is an act of the Indian Parliament that allows for the establishment of a special tribunal (NGT) to deal with disputes involving environmental concerns in a timely manner. Go through the highlights of the National Green Tribunal to gain a better understanding of the topic.

NGT Full Form National Green Tribunal
NGT Chairman 2022 Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
Headquarters New Delhi
Orders Challenge Status Yes, the orders can be challenged before the SC within 90 days.

NGT Chairman

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel is the current NGT Chairman. The National Green Tribunal has a presence in the following five zones – North, Central, East, South, and West. The Principal Bench of the NGT is headquartered in New Delhi (North Zone). The details of other benches and their headquarters are provided below:

  • The Central zone: Bhopal
  • East zone: Kolkata
  • South zone: Chennai
  • West zone: Pune

Structure of NGT

The NGT comprises the Chairman, the Judicial Members, and Expert Members.

  • All these members are required to hold the office for five years, and they are not eligible for reappointment.
  • NGT chairman is appointed by the Central Government of India in accordance with the Chief Justice of India.
  • The National Green Tribunal Members are appointed through a selection committee that is formed by the central government of India.
  • The NGT is headed by the Chairperson, who sits at the Principal Bench and has 10-20 judicial and a similar number of expert members.

Objectives of NGT

Some of the major objectives of the National Green Tribunal are:

  • Expeditious and effective disposal of cases related to the conservation and protection of the environment, forests, and other natural resources.
  • To provide compensation and relief for any damages caused to both persons and properties.
  • Another objective of NGT is to handle a plethora of environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

Functions of National Green Tribunal

The NGT has evolved over the past few years as a prime regulatory institution for protecting and conserving the environment and has passed strict judgments on pollution, deforestation, waste management, etc. Some of the major functions of the National Green Tribunal include:

Challenges of the National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal has been facing a number of challenges since its inception in 2010. Its jurisdiction has been restricted to a great extent as the two most important acts related to the environment – Wildlife Protection Act and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act do not come under the purview of the NGT. This makes it difficult for the tribunal to take action at times.

Some other common challenges that the National Green Tribunal has been facing for a long time are:

  • Several decisions taken by the NGT have faced criticism due to their negative impact on the country’s economy.
  • Most of the tribunal’s decisions are ignored by the government & other partners on account of not being practical enough.
  • Due to a limitation on monetary and human resources, the number of solved cases has gone down and the pending cases have been piling up.

Importance of National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal was created under the NGT Act in order to track & solve all the disputes related to the environment. It has also been inspired by the Article 21 of the constitution. NGT has been playing an important role in tackling environmental issues in many ways.

  • Creation of the National Green Tribunal enables fast-paced judgements in all environmental matters.
  • NGT has played a big role in lessening the burden of the other courts by taking environment-related matters into its hands.
  • It is said that the National Green Tribunal solves the cases within six months of their filing.
  • It is a specialized organization that deals with environmental issues by deploying officers that possess enough expertise in environment-related matters.

Landmark Judgments of NGT

In Ms Betty C. Alvares vs The State of Goa and Ors., the National Green Tribunal laid down that without regard to the question of nationality, a person can file a case related to an environmental issue.

  • In the Almitra H Patel Vs Union of India, the NGT instructed states to implement Solid Waste Management Rules and stopped the open burning of waste.
  • In 2012, National Green Tribunal suspended the clearance provided to the South Korean steel maker, POSCO, to set up a 12 million-tonne steel plant in Odisha.
  • In the Save Mon Federation Vs Union of India case, it suspended a ₹6,400-crore hydro project to save a bird’s habitat.
  • In Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti & Anr. v. Alaknanda hydro Power Co. Ltd. & Ors., the NGT has accepted the concept of ‘polluter pays’ and made a private entity prone to pay for the damage.
  • In the Art of living case on Yamuna Floodplain, the National Green Tribunal asked them to pay a fine of Rs 5 crore. It also held the Art of Living Foundation accountable for the damages caused to the Yamuna floodplain.

National Green Tribunal UPSC

National Green Tribunal UPSC is a part of the IAS Syllabus, and questions might be asked on this particular topic in the Prelims and Mains exams. That is why candidates need to strengthen their basic concepts of this topic, including the National Green Tribunal Act, challenges, power, objectives, etc. Candidates can also download the National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes in PDF format from the link given in this article and kickstart their preparation for the upcoming exam.

Way Forward:

In the present era, an equilibrium between economic growth and development and the environment is of prime importance. Hence, National Green Tribunal (NGT) should not be seen as an obstacle to development but as an enabler of sustainable development. Therefore, the government must address all issues encompassing the National Green Tribunal as soon as possible.

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