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National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal was established on October 18, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act
2010, passed by the Central Government. 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. The first Chairperson was Hon'ble Mr. Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta. The present Chairperson is Hon'ble Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar.

Structure and Composition
Following the enactment of the said law, the 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). Each Bench has a specified geographical jurisdiction covering several States in a region. There is also a mechanism for circuit benches. For example, the Southern Zone bench, which is based in Chennai, can decide to have sittings in other places like Bangalore or Hyderabad. Click here for a copy of the notification specifying jurisdiction of each bench. Provided below is a link to all NGT zonal benches, addresses & contact details.

The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Head Quartered in Delhi. 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 and Scope
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 National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. 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.

This means that any violations pertaining only to these laws, or any order / decision taken by the Government under these laws can be challenged before the NGT. Importantly, 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. Therefore, specific and substantial issues related to these laws cannot be raised before the NGT. You will have to approach the State High Court or the Supreme Court through a Writ Petition (PIL) or file an Original Suit before an appropriate Civil Judge of the taluk where the project that you intend to challenge is located.

Heads under which compensation or relief for Damage May Be Claimed 

(Provided in Schedule II of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010)
a.     Death;
b.    Permanent, temporary, total or partial disability or other injury or sickness;
c.     Loss of wages due to total or partial disability or permanent or temporary disability;
d.    Medical expenses incurred for treatment of injuries or sickness;
e.     Damages to private property;
f.     Expenses incurred by the Government or any local authority in providing relief, aid and rehabilitation to the affected persons;
g.    Expenses incurred by the Government for any administrative or legal action or to cope with any harm or damage, including compensation for environmental degradation and restoration of the quality of environment;
h.     Loss to the Government or local authority arising out of, or connected with, the activity causing any damage;
i.      Claims on account of any harm, damage or destruction to the fauna including milch and draught animals and aquatic fauna;
j.      Claims on account of any harm, damage or destruction to flora including aquatic flora, crops, vegetables, trees and orchards;
k.     Claims including cost of restoration on account of any harm or damage to environment including pollution of soil, air, water, land and eco-systems;
l.      Loss and destruction of any property other than private property;
m.   Loss of business or employment or both;

n.     Any other claim arising out of, or connected with, any activity of handling of hazardous substance.

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