The National Green Tribunal Act received presidential assent on 2nd June, 2010.
In a country, where the backlog of cases runs into crores, the Parliament deemed
it fit to enact an Act that would "provide for the establishment of a National
Green Tribunal for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to
environmental protection." The paper begins with analysing the need of
setting-up of such Tribunals in light of the State's obligation to protect the
The tribunal forms a specialized body to adjudicate upon
environmental issues. In a democratic system, such as India, it is imperative
for the state to provide a platform for effective and speedy disposal of
environmental cases. The paper would then proceed to analyse the development of
Environmental Jurisprudence in India fostered by the judiciary.
remarkable change in the perspective towards Environmental protection is
manifest with the establishment of the National Green Tribunal, its parent Act
suffers from various shortcomings. The same have been criticized and
recommendations have been made to amend such impediments.
The specific goal of UN 2030 is with the agenda for the Sustainable Development
of Environment can be achieved by only setting up the essential courts and
tribunal for its progress Almost 1200 environmental courts, and tribunals are
working in various countries and more courts are being planned to be established
for further improvement.
It has been analysed that if environmental cases are to be concerned, then it
should be according to scientific analysis, which is only possible with the help
of experts and judicial officers. If this is followed, then the judicial system
can become more efficient for resolving the environment matters.
National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 which was under the National
green tribunal act. This act is related to the disposal of civil cases in
relation to environmental protection and also for the conservation of natural
resources. There is an inclusion of legal rights and which are related to the
environment. The National Green Tribunal Act,2010 is enacted under Article 21 of
the Indian Constitution, and it explains the right to live in a clean and
Role Of State-From 'Police' To 'Welfare' State
A rather simplistic, primeval state that existed a few centuries ago has now
been catapulted into a highly complex state that, as the protector, regulator,
guarantor and guardian of its citizens, is enmeshed in a labyrinth of political
duties. The newly formed, albeit the one that developed gradually, state can
rightly be termed as a 'welfare state' that seeks to attend to the general
welfare of its citizens.
The contemporary socio-political regime supposes the
existence of a 'welfare state' to look after the multifarious needs of its
citizens. The increase in duties of the Government brought with it the
responsibility to protect the environment to ensure proper livelihood.
Consequently, increasing number of environmental disputes necessitated
setting-up of specialized courts competent to adjudicate upon such complex
Development In India
The development of environmental protection laws in India can be studied in
light of various international treaties, legislative implementations and
judicial interventions that supplemented and fostered the growth of
environmental jurisprudence in the state. The Stockholm Declaration in 1972
brought forth the issue of environmental protection to international attention
and provided the much-needed impetus to environmental legislation in India.
palpable result of the Declaration was the Constitution (forty second Amendment)
Act, 1976 that inserted Articles 48A2 and 51A (g)3 to the Constitution of India.
The cumulative effect of the articles was an obligation, on both state and
citizens to protect, preserve and safeguard the environment. In order 2 Article
48A reads as follows- "Protection and improvement of environment and
safeguarding of forests and wild life.
The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to
safeguard the forests and wild life of the country." Article 51A (g) reads as
follows-" to protect and improve the natural environment including forests,
lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures."
further implement the decisions held at Stockholm, the Parliament in 1986
enacted the Environment (Protection) Act to "provide for the protection and
improvement of environment" and for the purpose of "prevention of hazards to
human beings, other living creatures, plants and property". Supplementing the
Act are various legislations that prevent pollution of air , water , forest and
provide for the protection of biodiversity.
To provide for effective
distribution and estimation of remedy, the Parliament further enacted the Public
Liability Insurance Act, 1991 that was followed by the National Environment
Tribunal Act, 1995 and the National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997.
This compendium of legislative enactments may rightly be termed as the Indian
corpus of Environmental law that rightly forms the cornerstone of Environmental
jurisprudence in India.
Right To Healthy Environment
Bolstering the environmental edifice is the Indian judiciary that has
constantly, by means of either statutory interpretation or activism strengthened
environmental diligence in India. Such has been the role of the Indian Judiciary
that even in the absence of a constitutional mandate to the state to protect the
environment, the state is obliged to preserve it; making environmental
protection a well-entrenched policy in governance. There exists a catena of
judgments emphasizing on the need to a safe, healthy and clean environment. 
In a celebrated case involving illegal quarrying of limestone, the Supreme Court
for the first time held that it is "the right of the people to live in healthy
environment with minimal disturbance of ecological balance and without avoidable
hazard to them and to their cattle, homes and agricultural land and undue
affectation of air, water and environment."
In another judgment of far-reaching
consequence, The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, The Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1982, The Noise Pollution
(Regulation and Control) Rules, 2002. The Water (Prevention and Control of
Pollution) Act, 1974.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act,
1977, Central Board for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (Procedure
for Transaction of Business) Rules, 1975. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,
Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003, The Wild Life (Protection) Act,1972. The
Biological Diversity Act, 2002, the Apex court held that an inherently dangerous
industry owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to take the highest standards
of safety and account for any harm that result from such activity.
sensitivity of the judiciary towards environmental protection is manifest in its
various judgments. This trend of environmental protection and activism
eventually led to a growing desire to establish courts competent to handle
environmental disputes. The pressing need ultimately culminated in the enactment
of the National Green Tribunal Act that serves as a milestone in environmental
Statement Of Objects And Reasons For The Enactment Of The Act
In recent years, a lot of pressure has been imposed on the natural sources of
the environment due to the expansion of the industries, transportation and
increasing urbanisation and there are pending cases related to the environment
in other courts. So, this reason includes setting up of National Green Tribunal
under the Act.
India being a member of the United Nations Conference on Human Environment
called upon to provide a very effective judicial and administrative proceedings
and to redress the liabilities regarding National laws for the victims in
relation to environmental pollution and damage.
The main object is the right to life, and a healthy environment which is given
under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution has been constructed in the matter
of judicial proceedings.
The National Green Tribunal is enacted for the strict liability which can be
imposed after one indulges in environmental damages or accidents related to
There is setting up of National Green Tribunal Under this Act for better relief
and compensation with regards to the damages to persons, property and the
National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009
As the National Green Tribunal was set up with legal rights to the environment
for the effective disposal of the cases. Accordingly, it has been decided for
the introduction of National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009 which lays down the
- For the establishment of the national green tribunal, the composition must
include a chairperson, judicial experts and environmental experts according to
the Central Government notification.
- The person should be the judge of the supreme court or the Chief Justice of a
high court to be appointed as the chairperson of the tribunal.
- The person who has been qualified as a judge of the high court shall be given
eligibility to be a judicial member of the tribunal.
- In the appointment of Expert member, one needs to be an expert either in the
physical sciences, life sciences or one who has dealt with the environmental
Composition Of The Tribunal
Under section 4 of the act, the tribunal shall consist of the following:
- An eligible chairperson as per defined in the National Green
Tribunal Bill, 2009 which should be a full-time Chairperson
- Ten to Twelve full-time judicial members or as per the Central
- The chairperson has the power of calling the specialised person who has a
particular experience to the tribunal for assistance.
- The central government can notify about the territorial jurisdiction
falling under a particular place of sitting.
- The central government with the consultation of Chairperson, can
make rules and regulations in relation to the Tribunal.
Qualifications Of The Members
The chairperson should be qualified as a judge of the supreme court or the chief
justice of the high court.
The member of the tribunal should have a qualification in relation to the judge
of high court as a judicial expert.
As the non-judicial expert, one should have the degree of masters in science or
doctorate degree or with a master's degree in engineering.
Jurisdiction Of The Tribunal
Under section 14 of the act, the tribunal shall have jurisdiction to the
- The tribunal has jurisdiction over the civil cases which are in
consonance of the matters related to the environment.
- The tribunal shall involve the disputes related to the
- The application should only be made in the time span of six
months from the commencement of cause of the case.
Bar Of Jurisdiction
According to the provisions given under section 29 of the act, the following is
the bar of jurisdiction:
- No civil court is determined to entertain any case which is
empowered to determine as an appeal.
- The civil courts are also barred to entertain any question
which is related to the compensation or relief is given by the
- No civil court is given permission to grant an injunction on
a particular case before the tribunal which is in respect to the
settlement of disputes in case of compensation or restitution of
Powers Of The Tribunal
Under section 19 of the act, the Tribunal shall have the power that would be
required to regulate its own procedure.
The powers of the tribunal are as follows:
- Power to relief by issuing the compensation to the
aggrieved person after analysing the matter in a scientific manner with a properly researched report.
- Issuance of the commission for witnessing the documents
- Reviewing the decision of a particular case
- It has a power of dismissing the application if it is
considered to have defaulted or its decided to be ex parte.
- Granting the interim orders are considered as a power to
the tribunal and it can be done after hearing both the
- Power to give an order regarding the ceasement of a person from further
committing or violating the enactments specified in the Schedule I.
Under section 20, the tribunal has the power to pass any order or award in
relation to the substantial development.
Under section 21 of the act, decisions which are taken by the majority of the
members in the tribunal are considered as binding on the aggrieved parties.
Penalty For Failure To Comply With The Awards Or Decisions Of A Tribunal
Under section 26 of the act, In the matter of failure to comply with the
decision given by the tribunal, the National green tribunal follows a method of
The provisions laid down for the punishment are as follows:
- Imprisonment extended up to three years
- Fine which may extend up to ten crore rupees
- Or with both imprisonment and the fine
- In case if the contravention is still followed every
day, the amount of twenty-five thousand rupees will be
charged every day
- In case if a company fails to comply
- Such company shall be punishable in the following manner.
- Fine which may extend to twenty-five crores.
In case if the contravention or failure continues, additional fine with one lakh
of fine may extend.
Braj Foundation V Govt. Of UpThis case was put forth by Braj foundation in which it was given that the
government should make the memorandum of understanding for the forestation of
Vrindavan. It was given by the government that the advertisement which was
issued was just an invitation to treat but it cannot be regarded as a contract.
But the tribunal gave guidelines to the government that it is the duty of it to
promote afforestation. One of the significant aims was to create a
100-meter-long belt on both the sides of braj parikrama.
Jeet Singh Kanwar V Union Of IndiaIn this case, the petitioners challenge the environment clearance, which was
ordered for installing the coal-fired power plant. In the end, it was observed
that if that environmental clearance is not resulting in excess environmental
degradation, then the project involved can be continued. But further, the
tribunal gave the award regarding the illegality of the environment clearance
due to consequences.
Vardaman Kaushik V Union Of IndiaThe court observed the problem of a growing population in Delhi and ordered to
set up an action plan and directed that the vehicles which are 10 years old are
prohibited and the burning plastic is prohibited.
For the implementation of various tracks were constructed for cycles and forces
were set up to keep a check-up vehicle and fine of Rs. 1000 was kept on cars
parked on metallic sand tracks and it was offered that multi-level parking is
constructed in appropriate areas.
It is justifiable that National green tribunal is of great importance when it
comes to cases in relation to board environmental problems. It is a tool for
sharing and enhancing more substantial development of the environment. The great
need to know about conflict includes when the matters related to water, air,
land etc. has emerged on which various judgements are to be given.
But it is an advantage that due to national green tribunals, lawyers are
encouraged to specialize in environmental law and the tribunal is therefore
considered as an important aspect to provide justice in the matters related to
the environment. A time is awaited when our environment will be given most
importance through the medium of law pertaining to it.
- Dr. Paramjit S Jaswal, Environmental law
- The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, available at researchgate.net (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- National Green Tribunal (NGT), available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3591653 (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- National Green Tribunal, byjus.com (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- Right to Clean Environment, available at drishtiias.com (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- All about National Green Tribunal, available at blog.ipleaders.in (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- The National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009, available at prsindia.org (last visited on 5 April, 2023)
- Section 4, Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- Section 14, Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- Section 29, Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- Section 19, Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- Section 26, Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- Braj Foundation vs S Govt. Of U.P. Ors on 5 August, 2014
- Jeet Singh Kanwar And Another vs Moef And Others on 16 April, 2013
- Vardhaman Kaushik vs Union Of India on 27 July, 2018