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National Green Tribunal can take up environmental issues on its own: SC

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    19th Oct, 2021

Context

In a latest development, Supreme Court declared the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) position as a “unique” forum endowed with suo motu (on its own motion) powers to take up environmental issues across the country.

About

About National Green National Council

  • It is a special body established under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010).
  • Aim: To effectively and expeditiously deal with cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • NGT Act provides for special jurisdiction in court to deal with disputes arising under a set of seven rules (mentioned in Schedule I of the Act) -
    • Water Act
    • Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972
    • Forest (Conservation) Act 1980
    • Public Liability Insurance Act 1991
    • Biological Diversity Act 2002
    • National Green Tribunal Act 2010
  • NGT has five residences, New Delhi is the principal place of sitting. 
  • Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are four others.

Composition

  • The Tribunal is headed by the Chairperson who sits in the Principal Bench and has at least ten but not more than twenty judicial members and at least ten but not more than twenty expert members.
  • NGT is authorized to file a dismissal of applications or complaints within six months of filing the same.
  • The decisions of the Tribunal are binding.
  • The Tribunal has the power to review its decisions. If this fails, the decision may be challenged in the High Court within 90 days.

Special environmental court

  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to establish a special environmental court, only after Australia and New Zealand, with the first developing country to do so.

Key-Highlights of the Judgment

  • Not Limit to role reduction: The Tribunal must play equally important roles for prevention, recreational or natural remediation.
    • The functional capacity of the NGT is intended to leverage wide powers to do full justice in its environmental mandate.
    • Article 21 rights cannot stand on a small translation campus.
      • Article 21 of the Constitution protects the right to life and personal freedom.
  • Multidisciplinary Role: NGT, as a forum of recommendation, competent, and specialized, to address all environmental issues such as the original and as an appeal authority.
  • International Commitment: NGT contains an international obligation that India owes to the environment.
    • NGT has been recognized as one of the most progressive tribunals in the world.
    • This jurisprudential leap has allowed India to enter a rather exclusive group of nations which have set up such institutions with broad powers.
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