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National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal has been established under the provisions of National Green Tribunal Act 2010. It is a statutory Tribunal for hearing the matters concerning environmental issues, such as environment protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment for seeking relief and compensation for damages caused to people or property.

Structure of National Green Tribunal:-

The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal is at New Delhi, with regional benches in Pune (Western Zone Bench), Bhopal (Central Zone Bench), Chennai (Southern Bench) and Kolkata (Eastern Bench). Each Bench has a specified geographical jurisdiction covering several States in a region. There is also a mechanism for circuit benches.

Composition of the Tribunal:-

The Tribunal shall consist of a full time Chairperson (retired Supreme Court Judge), not less than 10 Judicial Members(retired High Court Judges) and not less than 10 Expert Members. The Chairperson of the Tribunal may, if considered necessary, invite any one or more person having specialized knowledge and experience in a particular case, to assist the Tribunal in that case.

Powers and Jurisdiction of the Tribunal:-

NGT shall have the Original Jurisdiction over all civil cases where a substantial question relating to environment (including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment), is involved and such questions that are linked to the implementation of laws prescribed in the Water Act, the Forest Conservation Act, Environment Protection Act, the Air Act, the Biological Diversity Act and the Public Liability Insurance Act.

Any violations pertaining only to these aforesaid laws, or any order/decision taken by the Government under these laws can be challenged before the NGT and it shall have the same powers which are vested in a Civil Court. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and has been granted the power to regulate its own procedure. While passing orders/decisions/awards, the NGT will apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle. It also does not follow the rules of evidence contained in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Who can file an Application or Appeal before the NGT:-

As per Section 18 of the NGT Act, the application can be made by any of the following:-

  1. The person who sustained the injury; or

  2. The owner of the property to which the damage has been caused; or

  3. In case a person has died, the legal representative of the deceased; or

  4. Any agent duly authorized by such person or owner of such property or any of the legal representatives of the deceased; or

  5. Any aggrieved person including representative body or organization; or

  6. Central Government or State Government or Union Territory Administration or State Pollution Control Board or Central Pollution Control Board or any local authority or any environmental authority established under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Procedure for filing Application or Appeal:-

Section 18, of the NGT Act, directs that the application for any appeal or for solving any dispute concerning environment or for seeking compensation for environmental damage will be made in the prescribed procedure and the procedure for the same has been prescribed under Rule 8 of the  National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedures) Rules, 2011 (NGT Rules). The applications and appeals shall be disposed of within 6 Months of the date of filing of the application/appeal after providing the parties an opportunity to be heard.

Limitation Period for filing Application:-

An Application for adjudication of dispute before the NGT shall be made within a period of 6 (six) months from the date on which the cause of action for such dispute first arose.

Court Fees:-

For every application/appeal where no claim for compensation is involved, a fee of Rs. 1000/- is to be paid. In case where compensation is being claimed, the fee will be 1% of the amount of compensation claimed subject to a minimum of Rs. 1000/-

A claim for Compensation, Relief and Restitution can be made for:-

  1. Relief/compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage including accidents involving hazardous substances;

  2. For restitution of property damaged;

  3. For restitution of the environment for such areas as determined by the NGT.

Execution of Award or Order or Decision of Tribunal:-

An award or order or decision of the Tribunal under this Act shall be executable by the Tribunal as a decree of a Civil Court, and for this purpose, the Tribunal shall have all the powers of a Civil Court.

Penalties:-

Whoever, fails to comply with any order or award or decision of the Tribunal under this Act, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 (three) years, or with fine which may extend to 10 (Ten) Crore rupees, or with both.

Review and Appeal:-

  1. Under Rule 22 of the NGT Rules, there is a provision for filing an application for seeking a Review of an award, decision or order of the NGT within 30 (thirty) days from the receipt of the copy of the Order.

  2. Under section 22 of the Act, any person aggrieved by any award, decision or order of the Tribunal, may, file an appeal to the Supreme Court, within 90 (ninety) days from the date of communication of the award, decision or order of the Tribunal.


- As on 1st July 2019