Since its inception in October 2010, the Tribunal has been successfully upholding its mandate as a ‘fast-track Court’ for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation. The above graph indicates the number of cases adjudicated by NGT until July 2014.
CEL on National Green Tribunal (‘NGT’)The National Green Tribunal (‘NGT’) was established on 18th October, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. The Tribunal is dedicated to the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to the subject of forest, environment, biodiversity, air and water. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The National Green Tribunal started functioning since 4th July, 2011. The Principal Bench is based at New Delhi with circuit benches at Chennai, Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata so that it can reach remoter parts of India. The principal bench and the regional benches are all currently functional.
This court can rightly be called ‘special’ because India is the third country following Australia and New Zealand to have such a system. The National Green Tribunal is India’s first dedicated environmental court with a wide jurisdiction to deal with not only violations of environmental laws, but also to provide for compensation, relief and restoration of the ecology in accordance with the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle and powers to enforce the ‘precautionary principle’.
The commencement of this Tribunal is a giant step forward towards achieving environmental democracy, which functions with an objective of disposing off the case within six months of filing. The members of this Tribunal have adhered to this rule, thereby ensuring disposal of cases in a timely manner and earning the court its reputation of being a special ‘fast-track’ court. Also, achieving the delicate balance between conservation and development can be a long and difficult process. Difficult choices are perhaps inevitable, such as in the matters of Lavasa and Posco. It is the mission of the Judges and the Expert Members of the National Green Tribunal to maintain this precarious balance between the environment and sustainable development. From observing the recent proceedings of this court and reading the previous judgements, the Members of this Tribunal have achieved such a feat in a majority of their cases.
In the year that the National Green Tribunal has functioned, it has delivered a number of significant judgments on range of issues from across the country. This Tribunal is therefore an important step in the access to justice on matters concerning the environment and its mandate is much wider than earlier environmental Courts and Authorities and other such Courts.
Access to information, public participation and access to justice are important elements of environmental democracy and the Centre for Environmental Law (CEL) actively works on these components to strengthen engagement in environmental law and policy. CEL will play a critical role in addressing the strategic requirement for legal research to be done on many of the issues being heard in National Green Tribunal. WWF – India will assist the environment counsels in taking up the matter before the tribunal and to give its inputs as and when required by the green tribunal.
In this context, the CEL is creating and providing an information depository of the judgements and orders given by the National Green Tribunal since it became functional. CEL believes that the effective implementation of environmental law through easily accessible information is an effective tool to ensure protection of areas of vital ecological concern.
You will find in the navigation towards your right, case summaries of all National Green Tribunals Orders/Judgements pronounced by the Judge and Expert member date wise. Each case will lead you to case summary and original Court Order as was posted on http://greentribunal.in/judgement.php