March 15th, 2016
Sri Sri Ravi’s Cultural Event drew a lot of ire from environmentalist and the National Green Tribunal who had fined Sri Sri Ravi a sum of 5 crores for the ecological damage. Let us look deep into who are the NGT, what is their purpose and many more.
What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)?
The National Green Tribunal is an special tribune formed under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010, passed by the Central Government to handle the speedy disposal of cases that are related to environmental issues. The NGT was enacted under India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 (Right To Life – a part of which assures all the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.)
What is the job of NGT?
The key function of NGT is to provide effective and expeditious disposal of cases pertaining to environmental protection, conservation of forests and for seeking compensation for damages caused to people or property due to violation of environmental laws.
Can anyone approach NGT to complain about environmental issues?
Yes, anyone can approach the NGT to seek compensation for environmental damage or appeal against an order or decision of the government. If an application is made without claiming any compensation, then a fee of Rs 1000/- is to be paid. In case where compensation is being claimed, the fee will be one per cent of the amount of compensation subject to a minimum of Rs 1000/-
A claim for Compensation can be made for:
- Relief/compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage including accidents involving hazardous substances;
- Restoration of property damaged;
- Restoration of the environment for such areas as determined by the NGT.
Is NGT’s decision equivalent to court?
NGT’s decision is equivalent to court only in cases of the seven laws that are related to environment. Civil courts cannot hear matters related to environmental issues under the seven laws which the NGT is empowered to deal with.
Is NGT influenced by the state or central government?
Though the NGT is a body of the Central government, the structure of the tribunal is handled by judicial members. The Chairperson is a retired judge of the Supreme Court. Other Judicial members are retired judges of high courts. Also it has expert members with professional qualifications and a minimum of 15 years experience in the field of environment, forest conservation and related subjects.
Some significant verdicts given by the NGT
- The NGT suspended the environmental clearance given to South Korean Steel company POSCO’s 12 billion dollar project in Orissa. The NGT asked the Environmental ministry to relook into the project and alleged that there was departmental bias in favour of this project. This project prompted a potential of large scale environmental disasters.
- The tribunal also put a ban on all forms of illegal river and ocean bed sand mining, which were rampant across the country due to the influence of the sand mafias over sand market.
- The NGT had cancelled the forest clearance given by the Union Environmental and Forest Minister, Jairam Ramesh in 2011, to the Parsa East and Kante Basan captive coal blocks in Hasdeo-Arand forests of Chhattisgarh.