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Introduction
It is a mater of common knowledge that the higher judiciary in India is
overburdened with a large backlog of cases. The Supreme Court in a number
ofcases highlighted the difficulty faced andjudges in adjudicating on complex
environnmental cases and laid emphasis on the need to set up a specialised
environmental court.1,02,
In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 985, Supreme Court
observed that environmental cases involve assessment of scientific data thus,
here is need for specialised forum so that there is appropriate adjudication of
disputes.
In Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India, AIR
1996 SC 1446, the SupremeCourtobserved that Environmental Courts having
civil and criminal juisdiction must be established to deal with the
avironmental issues in a speedy manner.
As a sequel to it the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and the
National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were passed by Indian
Parliament. But both the Acts proved non-starter as they could not cut much
e, and there was a growing demand that some legislation must be passed to
eal with the environmental cases more efficiently and efficaciously.
Then, in A.P. Pollution ControlBoardv. M.V. Nayadu, AIR 1999 SC
12, Justice Jagannath Rao, after an elaborate discussion ofthe views of jurist
ofvarious countries, referred to the need for establishing Environmental Com
which would have the benefit ofexpert advice from environmental scienss
technically qualified persons, and directed the Law Commission of Inda a
look into the need of Constitution of environmental courts. Thereafter
Law Commission isits 186thReportreleased in September 2003, recogrse
theinadequacies ofthe existing appellate authorities constituted under varice
environmental laws and reviewed their position with a view to bring uniformi
in their Constitution and the scope oftheirjurisdiction. In the said report,
Law Commission, recommended for setting up ofenvironmental courts
each State or for a group of States for exercising all powers of Civil Court a
the original jurisdiction and the appellatejudicial powers against orders passet
by the concerned authorities under the Water (Prevention and Controi
Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control ofPollution) Act, 182
the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Public Liability Insurance Aa
1991.
After six long years, the recommendations ofLaw Commission were givee
due recognition by Parliament when both the Houses of Parliament passe
the National Green Tribunl Bill,2009.It received Presidential assent on 2n
June, 2010and came into force on 18October 2010 as "The National Greer
Tribunal Act, 2010." It started functioning from 4thJune,2011. With the
enactment of this Act, India became third nation after Australia and
Newzealand to have enacted special Courts for environmental issues.
Though the credit for enacting the NGT Act, 2010 goes to the then
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, it became functional only because of
repeated directions of the Supreme Court while hearing the Special Leave
Petition titled Union of Indiav,Vimal Bhai (SLP No. 12065 of 2009).
Aims and Objects of the Act
The object of the Act is:
i) to give effect to its international obligations arising out of various
decisions taken at international Conferences to which India has been
a Party; and
(ti) to implement the Indian Apex Court's pronouncement that the right
to healthy environment is a part of theright to life under Article 21 of
the Indian Constitution.
This object has been amply reflected in the preamble of the Act which
provides that, the Act has been passed:
(i) for the effective and expeditions disposal of cases relating to
environmental protection and
(ii) conservation of forests and other natural resources including
enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and
(ii) giving reliefand compensation for damages to person and property and
(iv) for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Scheme of the Act
The Act consists of 38 Sections divided into five chapters and three
schedules.
THE ESTABLISHIMENT AND COMPOSITION OF
THE TRIBUNAL (Section 3 & 4]
The Act empowers the Central Government to establish, by notification
with effect from such date as may be specified therein, the Green Tribunal to
exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority that may be conferred on such
Tribunal by or under this Act. [Section 3]
The Central Government is empowered to specify, by notification, the
ordinary place or places of sitting of the Tribunal and also the territorial
jurisdiction falling under each such place of sitting. (Section 4(3)]
The Central Government may in consultation with the Chairperson ofthe
Tribunal make rules for regulating the ordinary practice and procedure of the
Tribunal. [Section 4(4)]
The Tribunal shall consist of a full time Chairperson and not less than
tenbut subject to maximum of twenty full time judicial members as the
Central Government may, from time to time, notify. The Tribunal shall1
consist of not less than ten but subject to maximum of twenty full time
expertmembers as the Central Government may, from time to time, notify.
Section 4(1)]|
The Chairperson of the Tribunal has been authorized to invite one or
more expert members who have specialized knowledge and experience to
assist the Court in a particular case before the Tribunal. [Section 4(2)

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Notes on National Green Tribunal, Environmental laws

  • 1. Introduction It is a mater of common knowledge that the higher judiciary in India is overburdened with a large backlog of cases. The Supreme Court in a number ofcases highlighted the difficulty faced andjudges in adjudicating on complex environnmental cases and laid emphasis on the need to set up a specialised environmental court.1,02, In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 985, Supreme Court observed that environmental cases involve assessment of scientific data thus, here is need for specialised forum so that there is appropriate adjudication of disputes. In Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India, AIR 1996 SC 1446, the SupremeCourtobserved that Environmental Courts having civil and criminal juisdiction must be established to deal with the avironmental issues in a speedy manner. As a sequel to it the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and the National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were passed by Indian Parliament. But both the Acts proved non-starter as they could not cut much e, and there was a growing demand that some legislation must be passed to eal with the environmental cases more efficiently and efficaciously. Then, in A.P. Pollution ControlBoardv. M.V. Nayadu, AIR 1999 SC 12, Justice Jagannath Rao, after an elaborate discussion ofthe views of jurist
  • 2. ofvarious countries, referred to the need for establishing Environmental Com which would have the benefit ofexpert advice from environmental scienss technically qualified persons, and directed the Law Commission of Inda a look into the need of Constitution of environmental courts. Thereafter Law Commission isits 186thReportreleased in September 2003, recogrse theinadequacies ofthe existing appellate authorities constituted under varice environmental laws and reviewed their position with a view to bring uniformi in their Constitution and the scope oftheirjurisdiction. In the said report, Law Commission, recommended for setting up ofenvironmental courts each State or for a group of States for exercising all powers of Civil Court a the original jurisdiction and the appellatejudicial powers against orders passet by the concerned authorities under the Water (Prevention and Controi Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control ofPollution) Act, 182 the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Public Liability Insurance Aa 1991. After six long years, the recommendations ofLaw Commission were givee due recognition by Parliament when both the Houses of Parliament passe the National Green Tribunl Bill,2009.It received Presidential assent on 2n June, 2010and came into force on 18October 2010 as "The National Greer Tribunal Act, 2010." It started functioning from 4thJune,2011. With the enactment of this Act, India became third nation after Australia and Newzealand to have enacted special Courts for environmental issues. Though the credit for enacting the NGT Act, 2010 goes to the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, it became functional only because of repeated directions of the Supreme Court while hearing the Special Leave Petition titled Union of Indiav,Vimal Bhai (SLP No. 12065 of 2009). Aims and Objects of the Act The object of the Act is: i) to give effect to its international obligations arising out of various decisions taken at international Conferences to which India has been a Party; and (ti) to implement the Indian Apex Court's pronouncement that the right to healthy environment is a part of theright to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This object has been amply reflected in the preamble of the Act which provides that, the Act has been passed: (i) for the effective and expeditions disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and (ii) conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and
  • 3. (ii) giving reliefand compensation for damages to person and property and (iv) for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Scheme of the Act The Act consists of 38 Sections divided into five chapters and three schedules. THE ESTABLISHIMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE TRIBUNAL (Section 3 & 4] The Act empowers the Central Government to establish, by notification with effect from such date as may be specified therein, the Green Tribunal to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority that may be conferred on such Tribunal by or under this Act. [Section 3] The Central Government is empowered to specify, by notification, the ordinary place or places of sitting of the Tribunal and also the territorial jurisdiction falling under each such place of sitting. (Section 4(3)] The Central Government may in consultation with the Chairperson ofthe Tribunal make rules for regulating the ordinary practice and procedure of the Tribunal. [Section 4(4)] The Tribunal shall consist of a full time Chairperson and not less than tenbut subject to maximum of twenty full time judicial members as the Central Government may, from time to time, notify. The Tribunal shall1 consist of not less than ten but subject to maximum of twenty full time expertmembers as the Central Government may, from time to time, notify. Section 4(1)]| The Chairperson of the Tribunal has been authorized to invite one or more expert members who have specialized knowledge and experience to assist the Court in a particular case before the Tribunal. [Section 4(2)