National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Why is it in News?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought report on waste tyres used in factories.

About NGT:

  • The NGT was established on October 18, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, passed by the Central Government.
  • It draws inspiration from the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
  • The stated objective of the Central Government was to provide a specialized forum for effective and speedy disposal of cases pertaining to environment protection, conservation of forests and for seeking compensation for damages caused to people or property due to violation of environmental laws or conditions specified while granting permissions.
  • Principal Bench of the NGT has been established in the National Capital - New Delhi, with regional benches in Pune (Western Zone Bench), Bhopal (Central Zone Bench), Chennai (Southern Bench) and Kolkata (Eastern Bench).

Who can become a Member of NGT?

  • The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court; other judicial members are retired judges of High Courts.
  • Each bench of the NGT will comprise of at least one Judicial Member and one Expert Member. Expert members should have a professional qualification and a minimum of 15 years experience in the field of environment/forest conservation and related subjects.

Powers of NGT:

  • The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These include the following:
  • 1.The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
  • 2.The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977,
  • 3.The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,
  • 4.The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
  • 5.The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,
  • 6.The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991,
  • 7.The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  • The NGT has not been vested with powers to hear any matter relating to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and various laws enacted by States relating to forests, tree preservation etc.

Review and Appeal:

Under Rule 22 of the NGT Rules, there is a provision for seeking a review of a decision or order of the NGT. If this fails, an NGT order can be challenged before the Supreme Court within 90 days.

Is there a bar on Civil Courts to hear/take up cases under the 7 Specified Laws in Schedule I of the NGT Act?

Yes. With the enactment of the NGT Act, Civil courts cannot hear matters related to environmental issues under the 7 laws which the NGT is empowered to deal with.

Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA):

  • EPCA is apex court (Supreme Court) mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region.
  • It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986.
  • The EPCA also assists the apex court in various environment-related matters in the region.

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP):

A graded response lays down stratified actions that are required to be taken as and when the concentration of pollutant increase beyond the threshold decided by the Authority.

The plan was prepared by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).

E.g.- Ifthe level of PM 2.5 or PM 10 crosses 100 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) then the environmental authorities shall go for a mechanized sweeping, water-sprinkling, ban on old diesel vehicles etc. to bring the pollutant level back to normal.


Source: moef.gov.in, TH, conservationindia.org