National Green Tribunal needn’t wait for ‘Godot’ to save environment: Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court has declared the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) position as a “unique” forum endowed with suo motu powers to take up environmental issues across the country.
- The court said the NGT need not wait for the “metaphorical Godot” to knock on its portal to flex its considerable muscles to save the environment.
- The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications
About the National Green Tribunal (NGT):
- National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a quasi-judicial body established on October 18, 2010. It was established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 to handle environment-related disputes.
- India is the third country following Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.
- The Mandate of NGT is to dispose of the cases related to the environment in an effective and efficient manner. The NGT handles cases related to,
- Environmental protection
- Environmental clearances for projects by the government are covered under the jurisdiction of NGT.
- Conservation of forests and other natural resources.
- Enforcement of any legal right relating to the environment.
- Relief and compensation for damages to persons and properties.
SC Decision on NGT:
- The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications.
- When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature and those relate to the Act, the NGT, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards Improvement or towards prevention of harm.
- The court explained that the role of the NGT was not simply adjudicatory in nature. The Tribunal has to perform equally vital roles that were preventative, ameliorative (improvement) or remedial in nature.
- NGT is a complimentary, competent, specialised forum to deal with all environmental multidisciplinary issues both as original and also as an appellate authority.