The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, was enacted by the Indian parliament to give effect to the declaration and recommendations, as well as to provide for a separate special court for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to climate, relief, compensation, and damages to the individual or property.
- 1986: Following the Bhopal gas tragedy and the Oleum gas leak case, the Supreme Court emphasised the importance of establishing special environmental courts to ensure constant monitoring and prompt resolution of environmental cases.
- 1995: The National Environmental Tribunal Act of 1995 was passed by the parliament in 1995, but it was never enforced.
- 1997: The National Environment Appellate Act of 1997 was passed, but the authority’s operation was plagued by a number of issues.
- 2003: In its 186th report, the Law Commission of India recommended the establishment of a separate tribunal for environmental cases requiring professional knowledge, expertise, and assistance.
- 2010: The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 by the National Green Tribunal Act. The Act went into effect on June 2, 2010. In its 186th report, the Law Commission of India recommended the establishment of a separate tribunal for environmental cases requiring professional knowledge, expertise, and assistance. The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 by the National Green Tribunal Act.
IMPORTANCE OF THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL ACT 2010
The National Green Tribunal is a central player in the settlement of environmental cases. It will decide on cases within six months of their filing. The tribunal has a major role to play in the long-term sustainability of the environment. According to the National Green Tribunal, till 31-5-2020, the Tribunal had disposed of 29760 cases and 2866 cases are pending.
POWERS OF THE TRIBUNAL
Section 19 of the national green tribunal act , 2010 mentions the powers of the tribunal. The Tribunal is not bound by the Civil Procedure Code of 1908 or the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The tribunal has the authority to set its own laws. The tribunal has the same jurisdiction as a civil court in hearing the case as prescribed by the CPC, 1908. summoning and compelling any person to appear and interviewing him under oath Requiring the discovery and processing of documents and production of documents. It accepts proof on affidavits and issues committees to examine the witnesses or records. It reconsiders its decision. It also has the power to dismiss a default program or decide it ex parte. It aids in setting aside any order that rejects an application for default or any other order ex parte by it. On any application or appeal brought under this act, the tribunal can make an interim order ( including issuing an injunction or a stay) after providing the parties with an opportunity to be heard.
WHO CAN APPROACH THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL
According to the NGT Act, an aggrieved person can file a case before the Tribunal and may be an entity, a corporation, a business, an association of persons (such as an NGO), even if not registered or incorporated, a trustee, a local government official, or any other person. The person does not have to be specifically impacted by the project or creation in question; alternatively, he or she may be someone who is involved in protecting and preserving the environment. The case must be brought before the Tribunal within a certain time frame, which is defined.
In the case of MS BETTY ALVARES VS THE STATE OF GOA AND OTHERS the court said that foreign nationals also have the right to approach the tribunal.
Since its inception in 2010, the Tribunal has released numerous landmark decisions. The Tribunal has taken many steps to address the problem of delays in bringing matters to its attention; the first of its kind is a liberal stance in which they held the doors of the NGT open for those seeking justice and given legislation to appeal a government decision must approach the tribunal within 30 days of the day the decision was made An additional 60-day extension to contact the NGT could be granted; however, this delay will need to be clarified to the Tribunal, which may or may not find “sufficient justification” for the delay. The NGT has no redress after a 90-day lapse.
THE POSCO CASE –
This is one of the most notable cases in the history of the National Green tribunal.. Posco , the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Odisha government to establish a 12-million-tonne-capacity steel project in Jagatsinghpur district, which drew attention from the global media as the largest foreign direct investment in India. The NGT has suspended the Odisha Government’s order to establish the programme, which is seen as a drastic move in favour of local communities and forests. By staying true to its founding intent, the Tribunal made the decision on the ground to promote sustainable development and valued local communities over economic benefit from the project.
THE GOA FOUNDATION CASE
This was the seminal case that established the NGT’s jurisdiction in all civil cases involving a significant environmental problem. The petition was filed in order to protect the Western Ghats and to guide the respondents to exercise the powers granted to them under the enactments specified in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 or the restoration and conservation of the Western Ghats within the structure outlined by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel in its report dated August 31, 2012. The Tribunal ordered the MoEF to respond to the report within four weeks.
ALMIRA .H PATEL AND OTHERS VS THE UNION OF INDIA AND ORS
In the above case the court made a decision of complete prohibition on open burning of land. This case was very helpful in preventing pollution and making strict decisions on people who burn open lands.
MAJOR CHALLENGES FACED BY THE TRIBUNAL NGT
The major challenge of the tribunal is carrying out its duties with total honesty, but it is nevertheless faced with substantial structural challenges. The first obstacle is a lack of adequate facilities since it operates from two separate locations. Second, the body should have at least 10 judicial and expert members, but only two judicial and four expert members have been named so far. The number of environmental cases has been on the increase but thanks to lack of benches and infrastructure, the body is unable to pronounce its judgment on time. In the previous couple of months around 80 cases were filed within the NGT and every one ranged from cases challenging environmental approvals granted to power projects, to those questioning governmental permission to use forest land, to problems with air and sound pollution . The number of environmental cases is growing, but due to a lack of benches and facilities, the body is unable to make its decision on time. Around 80 cases have been filed in the NGT in the last few months, ranging from those challenging environmental permissions given to power plants to those questioning governmental permission to use forest land, to problems with air and sound pollution .
Margaret Mead once said ,”Never doubt that a little group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it’s the sole thing that ever has.” Therefore every small action that can contribute for the betterment of the environment should be done and we should make a collective effort to save the environment. The National Green Tribunal is a welcome idea in a society where there are multiple environmental related cases that must be discussed and resolved there and then for the environment’s long term development. As a result, the tribunal plays an important role in environmental protection. To achieve the goal of environmental protection, the tribunal must be controlled on a regular basis. The NGT is working hard and making excellent decisions in cases including environmental problems and challenges. In light of the growing concern about the environment and climate change, the government should make it more autonomous and effective. However, as compared to other developed and developing countries, India performs well in terms of environmental or climate change issues.