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Overview

Ever since its inception the National Green Tribunal has been a new beginning in India’s struggle between Environmental Preservation and Development.


Jurisdiction:

The National Green Tribunal deals with cases relating to envi-ronmental protection and conser-vation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to envi-ronment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.


Key Features:

The Tribunal has the same pow-ers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Proce-dure, 1908.

The Tribunal is mandated to endeavor towards disposal of Applications and Appeals within 6 months of filing the same

Any appeal against orders of the tribunal can be made only at the Supreme Court.

The five places of its sitting are at Delhi, Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai. 


Chairman:

On 1st January, 2012, Justice A S Naidu, an Ex-Judge at the Od-isha High Court, replaced Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta as the second Chairman of the National Green Tribunal.


Similar Green Benches World-wide:

Land & Environmental Court of New South Wales, Australia.

Environmental Court of New Zea-land

Vermont Environmental Court, USA.
The National Green Tribunal
Ensuring Citizens their right to a healthy environment


Background

On the night of December 2nd 1984 the Bhopal Gas tragedy occurred, where Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas leakage from Union Carbide Plant caused one of the world’s largest tragedy. This resulted in death of more than 8000 people and disabled/injured more than 6 lakhs.

In light of the tragedy, the erstwhile Department of Environment formed in 1980 was upgraded to a Cabinet level Ministry and named as Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in 1985. Subsequently the Environ-ment (Protection) Act was passed on 23rd May, 1986 through which State Pollution Control Boards were formed.

Unfortunately most people who suffered in the same were poorly compensated, that too after several years of court trials. This clearly pointed out to the inadequacy of the existing provisions in dealing with such disasters. The National Green Tribunal aims to ensure that such Environmental Disasters are averted in the future and victims are properly compensated and receive quick justice.


The National Green Tribunal (NGT)—Formation

The concept of a National Green Tribunal is not something new. For the last couple of decades several courts around the country have recommended the formation of an Environmental Court dedicated to take up cases relating to environmental conservation and degradation.

After several years of deliberation, The National Green Tribunal was established in October 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 to effectively handle environmental litigations. Unlike other environmental laws this bestows ample powers to the Tribunal in case its orders are not complied with. Another key feature of this Act is the inclusion of the scientific community. In view of handling Environmental cases which require technical knowledge, the Act proposed a 20 mem-ber tribunal with half of its members being Judicial experts and the rest being Environmental ex-perts.

A Key factor of the National Green Tribunal is that it is known to for its transparency. It holds high the principles of accountability and transparency in all its functions. All of its decisions are pub-lished online on a daily basis and is made accessible to the public.


A Look at some NGT’s Landmark Judgements:

NGT Suspends POSCO India’s Environmental Clearance

The National Green Tribunal Suspended the Environmental Clearance given to South Korean Steel Major POSCO’s 12 Bil-lion Dollar Project in Orissa, believed to be the biggest Foreign Direct Investment in the Country. The tribunal asked the Envi-ronmental Ministry to relook into the project and alleged that there was departmental bias in favour of the project.

The project, a 12 million ton Iron and Steel Plant, has been one of India’s most hotly debated in-dustrial projects. While POSCO supporters see the project as a boost for India’s investment cre-dentials, adversaries point to major irregularities and violations of law, human displacement, and the potential of large scale environment disasters . For the last seven years ever since the project was proposed large scale protests have erupted throughout the country. The NGT in its order has noted that the full impact of the project is yet to be measured, since environmental impact as-sessments were made only for a 4 million ton plant, not the full 12MT which POSCO plans to ex-pand in future. Source: The Hindu, TOI


NGT sets aside Environmental Clearance granted to Perungudi SWM Plant.

The National Green Tribunal delivered a jolt to the State Environmental Clearance given to Chennai Corporation Integrated Solid Waste Management Project at Perungudi. The Court observed that the project is within 10kms from the Guindy National Park a protected area and hence as per EIA Guidelines Clearance can be accorded by MoEF alone. The court pulled up the Chennai Based Environmental Consultant for deliberate concealing of facts which amounted to professional misconduct.
Order dated 24.2.2012 V.Srinivasan Vs Tamil Nadu State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority and Others



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