- It is a statutory body established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
- It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
- The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
- The Tribunal is vested with the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure for discharging its functions but it can make its own rules.
- It provides speedy environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
What is the Tribunal’s composition?
- The Tribunal has a presence in five zones- North, Central, East, South and West. The Principal Bench is situated in the North Zone, headquartered in Delhi.
- The Central zone bench is situated in Bhopal, East zone in Kolkata, South zone in Chennai and West zone in Pune.
- 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.
- The NGT deals with civil cases under the seven laws related to the environment, these include
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
- Two important acts – Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 have been kept out of NGT’s jurisdiction.
- The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving a substantial question relating to the environment. Additionally, any person aggrieved by an order/direction of any of the Appellate Authorities under the legislations mentioned above can also challenge them before the National Green Tribunal.
Are decisions of the Court binding?
- Yes, decisions of the Tribunal are binding. The Tribunal’s orders are enforceable as the powers vested are the same as in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
Are decisions of the Tribunal final?
- The Tribunal has powers to review its own decisions. If this fails, the decision can be challenged before the Supreme Court within ninety days.
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court has held in a judgment Parliament did not excessively delegate power to the Centre by authorising it to establish the National Green Tribunal.
- The court held that NGT is a “unique” institution established for enforcement of environmental rights protected under the Right to Life. NGT was not an excessive case of delegation of powers to the central government.