National Green Tribunal and NGT Act 2010
- The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
- NGT established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
- Enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- 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’s orders are enforceable as the powers vested are the same as in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
- The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
- The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
- Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible.
- New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.
- India is one of only a few countries to have a specialized environmental court system.
- The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues under the seven laws related to the environment.
Any person seeking relief and compensation for environmental damage involving subjects in the legislations mentioned in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 may approach the Tribunal.
- 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
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 Judge of the Supreme Court,Chief Justice of a High Court, has been appointed as Chairperson or Judicial Member of the Tribunal, he shall not hold office after he has attained the age of sixty-seven years.
- Judge of a High Court, has been appointed as Judicial Member of the Tribunal, he shall not hold office after he has attained the age of sixty-seven years.
- No Expert Member shall hold office after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.
- The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with Chief Justice of India (CJI).
- A Selection Committee shall be formed by central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
- The Tribunal has powers to review its own decisions. If this fails, the decision can be challenged before the Supreme Court within ninety days.
- There are to be least 10 and maximum 20 full time Judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.
Penalty for failure to comply with orders of NGT Act
- Whoever, fails to comply with any order or award or decision of the Tribunal under this Act, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to ten crore rupees, or with both and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after conviction for the first such failure or contravention.
- Provided that in case a company fails to comply with any order or award or a decision of the Tribunal under this Act, such company shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty-five crore rupees, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to one lakh rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after conviction for the first such failure or contravention.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, every offence under this Act shall be deemed to be non-cognizable within the meaning of the said Code.