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National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India – What you need to Know (History,Challenges,Circuit Benches,Necessity)

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Why National Green Tribunal (NGT) has become essential

India has become the third country in the world to start a National Green Tribunal (NGT) which is a judicial body exclusively meant to judge environmental cases.Note Environment has become the one of the most important issues in the country affecting the broader society.Alongwith Land Acquisition,environment has become the most frequent conflict flashpoint.There have been numerous case where large industries have been confronted by local people fighting for the environment.Recent cases like the Vedanta Bauxite smelter in Orissa,Thermal Power Plants in Andhra Pradesh,the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Maharashtra have seen huge controversy and protests.Note Vedanta Resources has found itself in the centre of controversy over mining bauxite in Niyamgiri Hills which are held sacred by the Dongria Kondh tribal group.With powerful political and bureaucratic patrons,Vedanta has managed to ride roughshod over Tribal Rights.

Having a National Green Tribunal (NGT) has become essential for  the country so that development can proceed with peace between various stakeholders .Note normal judges and courts don’t have the expertise to understand the massive complexities and intricacies involved in billion dollar industrial projects and their impact on the environment.The NGT will have each judge having an environmental expert to guide him/her on the ecological issues so that they can come to an informed judgment.

When,Where and What of National Green Tribunal (NGT)

The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavor for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.During the  United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, India has committed to providing judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the  environmental damage.The predecessor to the NGT, the erstwhile National Environment Appellate Authority has been superseded by the NGT.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) started functioning in October  2010 and has already seen a large number of cases being transferred from the erstwhile National Environment Appellate Authority and from the various courts including the Supreme Court of India.There will be four circuit branches of NGT with eastern bench  at Kolkata, the western branch at Pune, the central on e at Bhopal and the southern branch in Chennai.Shri Justice L.S. Panta, Former Judge of the Supreme Court has been appointed as the first  Chairperson of the NGT.

Challenges before NGT

The formation of the NGT has taken a long time despite the Bill being passed last year.Note the infrastructure and the funding for the NGT comes from the Central Government.The government for obvious reasons does not want a strong Green Tribunal just like it does not want a strong Lokpal.Till now only the Delhi Bench has b een set up with no time frame given for the setting up of the other branches.

Will it Conflict with the Green Bench of Supreme Court

India’s Chief Justice recently decided to restructure the “Green Bench” to expedite the cased before it.There will be 2 benches which will deal with environmental matters,one bench will deal with  norms while the other will focus on their implementation


Abhishek Shah

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

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    we want to go againest a company with enviroment related can we appeal.