3. CONCEPT AND EVOLUTION IN INDIA
• The industrial revolution which started during the 2nd Five Year Plan in India had given new dimensions
to the economic growth but it posed a environmental threat simultaneously on account of exploitations of
the natural resources.
• India is a party Stockholm Conference, 1972 has made significant declaration related to safeguarding of
natural resources and to developing international law. (First step towards environmental issues)
• India is also a signatory of second declaration Rio-De-janerio in 1992.This declaration states that, the
participatory states must make suitable environment legislation with its effective access of remedies to
• A uniform system is adopted to deal with the environmental issues as National Environment Tribunal Act,
1995 which shortly culminated into the National Environmental Appellate Authority Act, 1997 but being in
the initial stage of its origin, these two mechanisms could not perform efficiently on account of limited
jurisdictions over the environmental issues.
4. • The Law Commission of India in its 186th report (2003) recommended that the Union government should be
establish and constitute Separate Environmental Court in each state, to deal with complex scientific and
specialized issue relating to environment.
• Supreme Court of India in four landmark judgments, namely, M.C. Mehta vs Union of India, Indian Council
for Environmental-Legal Action v. Union of India, A.P. Pollution Control Board v. M.V. Nayudu and A.P. Pollution
Control Board v. M.V. Nayudu II, has stressed upon uniform and multifaceted statutory and judicial body in
form "Environmental Courts" with its technical/scientific assistance.
•Due to the complex nature of environment litigations, the Apex Court of India felt the need and suggested
for establishing separate environmental court for faster, cheaper and more effective resolution of disputes in
• Consequently, The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was founded on 18th October, 2010 under the National
Green Tribunal Act, 2010 wherefrom the real journey of environmental protection got started in India
5. Objectives of NGT
• Effective and expeditious disposal of cases that are related to the protection
and conservation of the environment, forests, and other natural resources.
• To give relief and compensations for any damages caused to persons and
• To handle various environmental disputes that involve multi-disciplinary issues.
• It has been established to ensure the right citizens of India to a healthy
• To achieve the foremost goal of sustainable development.
• Its aim to establish to reduce the burden and pressure on the courts.
6. Features of NGT
• This tribunal is quasi-judicial body and blend of powers of civil and criminal courts in many respects. It
replaced the National Environment Appellate Authority, a previous body with a more limited jurisdiction
which was largely considered ineffectual.
• It is Statutory Body incorporated by NGT Act 2010 .
• To settle the disputes where a substantial question relating to environment is involved. • The NGT, with
each judicial bench comprised of a judicial as well as a technical member, is contemplated to be a "multi-
faceted Environmental Court with judicial and technical/specific inputs.
• The NGT is a specialized forum for effective and speedy disposal of cases pertaining to environment
protection and conservation of forests.
7. • The NGT was granted wide ranging powers allowing it to adjudicate cases of protection of the
environment, natural resources and the legal rights of people being affected under a number of existing
• The NGT has established its five Benches i.e. places of sitting, in India. New Delhi is the Principal place of
sitting and other benches are Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai.
• The Tribunal is empowered to invite any one or more persons having specialized knowledge and experience
in a particular field like Engineering, Technology, Science, administrative experience and so on to assist the
Tribunal in particular cases.
• It is first legislation in India which recognizes the "principles of sustainable development, the
precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
8. Structure of NGT
• The Tribunal comprises of the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members. They shall hold
office for term of five years and are not eligible for reappointment.
• The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with Chief Justice of India
(CJI). Chairperson will be appointed from Judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of a High
Court, either sitting or retd.
• A Selection Committee shall be formed by central government to appoint the Judicial Members and
• There are to be least 10 and maximum 20 full time Judicial members and Expert Members in the
10. Power and Jurisdiction of NGT
• The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving substantial question relating to environment
(including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment).
• Being a statutory adjudicatory body, apart from original jurisdiction side on filing of an application,
NGT also has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeal as a Court (Tribunal).
• The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but shall
be guided by principles of 'natural justice.
•While passing any order/decision/ award, it shall apply the principles of sustainable development, the
precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
• No application can be entertained to resolve the dispute unless it is presented before the tribunal with
in 6 months from the cause of action first arose. (Sec 14 of the NGT Act)
11. NGT by an order, can provide;
• relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage (including accident
occurring while handling any hazardous substance),
• for restitution of property damaged, and
• for restitution of the environment for such area or areas, as the Tribunal may think fit. (Sec 15 of the
Section 16 of the Act confers Appellate Jurisdiction of the Tribunal. It provides that any person aggrieved by
the order may prefer an appeal with in 30 days from its decision/order under various Acts.
An order/decision/award of Tribunal is executable as a decree of a civil court.
The NGT Act also provides a procedure for a penalty for non compliance:
• Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years,
• Fine which may extend to ten crore rupees,
• Both fine and imprisonment.
12. • An appeal against decision/award of the tribunal lies to the Supreme Court, generally within ninety days
from the date of its communication. (Sec 22 )
• The NGT deals with civil cases under the various laws (like EPA 1986, WCP Act 1974, APCP Act 1981, FC Act
1980 and so on) related to the environment protection.
•Any violation pertaining to these laws or any decision taken by the Government under these laws can be
challenged before the NGT.
LOCUS STANDI (who may apply) sec 18 of the Act
• Who sustained the injury. (death occurred due to damaged, any legal repre)
• Owner of the property to which the damaged has caused.
• Any organization or representative body.
• Any Gov. institution like central or state board, local authorities, etc.
13. Judicial Trend (case laws)
• In 2012 Almitra H. Patel vs. Union of India case, NGT gave judgment of complete prohibition on open
burning of waste on lands, including landfills - regarded as the single biggest landmark case dealing with
the issue of solid waste management in India.
• In 2015, the NGT ordered that all diesel vehicles over 10 years old will not be permitted to play in Delhi-
• In 2017, the Art of Living Festival on Yamuna Food Plain was declared violating the environmental norms,
the NGT panel imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 Crores.
• The NGT, in 2017, imposed an interim ban on plastic bags of less than 50-micron thickness in Delhi
because "they were causing animal deaths, clogging sewers and harming the environment“.
• Rohit Chaudhary v. Union of India 2013, this case dealt with the steps taken to protect and conserve the
tiger reserve at the Kanziranga National Park in Assam
14. • The Tribunal noted the adverse impacts of human intervention in the said park which is also a world
heritage site. Tribunal order to deduce the any kind of human intervention in the area and said that it is not
favorable to the natural habitat of the animals. Tribunal also ordered that not to construct any hotel or
resort without the prior sanction from necessary authorities and also banned the parking of trucks.
• In case of Shobha Phadanvis v. State of Maharashtra Another 2014, Tribunal observed that forests are a vital
component to sustain the life support system on the earth. The order is made to conservation, preservation
and protection of forests and the ecology where the forests were destroyed immensely and without prior
permission of the authorities.
• The NGT has grown in multidisciplinary dimensions and makes great contribution to
the development of environmental jurisprudence not only in national level but also in
global level. The NGT of India has developed faith in society till date and achieved
success in delivering environmental justice. During the disposal of cases and delivery
of justice, NGT is the first body in India to apply the polluter pay principle, the
precautionary principle and sustainable development principle.