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National Green Tribunal (NGT): Need of Revival

What is the news?: There are concerns regarding the underperformance of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the past....

What is the news?: There are concerns regarding the underperformance of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the past five years which highlights the need for reform and revival.

What is National Green Tribunal ?
  • National Green Tribunal is a special body setup under National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  • It is a special tribunal to handle cases related to environmental issues.
  • It was enacted by the parliament of India.
  • It has 5 regional benches at: New Delhi, Bhopal, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.
  • Each bench has particular jurisdiction.
Structure of National Green Tribunal
Features of NGT:
Functions of National Green Tribunal

NGT deals with cases of environmental violations by corporations and unapproved construction activities. New orders from NGT related to violations have been implemented by Ministry of Environment. These new norms are as follows:

  • Identification of cases and reporting– There was an ambiguity on how to file the cases. The violations have been cleared now.
  • We should take temporary actions until the violations are cleared.
  • Altering the penalties for new violations.
Landmark Judgements of NGT(National Green Tribunal)
  • In 2012, POSCO a steelmaker company signed an MoU with the Odisha government to set up a steel project. NGT suspended order and this was considered a radical step in favor of the local communities and forests.
  • In 2013 in the Uttarakhand floods case, the Alaknanda Hydro Power Co. Ltd. was ordered to compensate the petitioner – here, the National Green Tribunal directly relied on the principle of ‘polluter pays.
  • In 2015, the NGT issued an order prohibiting the operation of all diesel vehicles over 10 years old in Delhi-NCR.
  • In 2017, the Art of Living Festival on Yamuna Food Plain was declared violating the environmental norms, the National Green Tribunal panel imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 Crore.
  • NGT imposed interim ban on thin plastic bags in Delhi due to environmental and animal welfare concerns.
Concerns regarding NGT
  • Lack of Judicial Oversight: Expert committees lack oversight, accept reports without hearing affected parties, undermining the NGT’s fair and transparent functioning.
  • Questionable Application of Polluter Pays Principle:Concerns raised over NGT’s application of Polluter Pays principle and discrepancies in self-made reports.
  • Violation of Natural Justice: Failure to hear affected parties violates natural justice, raising concerns about fairness and due process.
  • Bias Against Development and Industry: Concerns raised over the term “compensation regime” potentially hindering economic growth and environmental conservation balance.
  • Credibility and Transparency: NGT’s credibility and transparency are doubted due to self-certification report, impacting its objectivity and reliability.
Need for reform and revival of the NGT
  • Rebuilding Bar-Bench Relationship: Addressing the bar-bench relationship is vital for effective environmental representation and dialogue in NGT cases.
  • Collaboration and International Standing:Reviving the NGT requires partnerships for knowledge exchange and global recognition with organizations, institutions, and experts.
  • Addressing Underperformance: Reforming the NGT is necessary to enhance its effectiveness and achieve its objectives, considering its underperformance in recent years.
  • Judicial Oversight and Natural Justice: Reforming the NGT’s decision-making process is crucial to ensure judicial oversight, uphold natural justice, and conduct fair hearings.
  • Transparent and Accountable Performance Evaluation: NGT’s performance evaluation should be transparent, objective, and accountable to ensure unbiased monitoring.
  • Credibility and Transparency: Reforming the NGT should prioritize enhancing credibility, transparency, and objectivity in operations and decision-making processes.
  • Prioritizing Sustainability and Development Balance: Reforms should balance conservation and development, addressing ecological concerns without bias against industry.

NGT provides credible environmental cases, addressing the development vs. environment issue effectively. Furthermore, stakeholders widely agree that the development process should incorporate the environment as an intrinsic part.Reinforcing the NGT is crucial for safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainable development.

FAQs Related with Need for the revival of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)
Ques 1: Why is there a need for the revival of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)?

Answer: The NGT needs revival to address concerns related to its underperformance, lack of transparency, credibility, and judicial oversight, and to enhance its effectiveness in handling environmental cases.

Ques 2: What are the key areas of focus for reviving the NGT?

    Answer: Areas to focus for NGT revival: Judicial oversight, transparent decision-making, collaborations, and bar-bench relationship.

    Ques 3: How can the revival of the NGT benefit environmental conservation efforts?

    Answer: NGT revival benefits: Enhanced knowledge, dialogue, balance, and fairness for effective environmental conservation and sustainable development.

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