National Green Tribunal’s Role and Contributions

Centre passes notification, allows NGT to form one-member benches



Mains paper 2: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
Prelims level: National Green Tribunal
Mains level: Issues faced in NGT/tribunal functioning; Autonomy of tribunals

  1. Centre has passed a notification allowing the NGT chairperson to “constitute a single-member bench” in “exceptional circumstances.”
Issues in NGT functioning
  1. At present, the regional benches in Chennai and Kolkata are both functioning with one judicial member each and the expert members have retired.
  2. The expert member in the principal bench in Delhi is expected to retire later this week.
  3. Instead of the government taking the time to fill up vacancies, it is now attempting to reduce the bench to a single-member.
  4. This may not hold water as a notification cannot amend the principal Act.
  5. The essence of the NGT was to have both “technical and judicial” members. Otherwise, the tribunal will function no differently from a high court.
  6. Vacancies also affect the institutional memory which are important to keep the continuity in hearing cases.
Earlier Rule Change
  1. The NGT Act, 2010, made it mandatory for the NGT chairperson to be a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court
  2. Rules made earlier this year: even a judicial member or expert member for three years is qualified to be a chairperson of the NGT.


National Green Tribunal
  1. The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  2. Members: full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members. Judicial and Expert Members: 10 minimum and 20 maximum in each category.
  3. has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” and & “damage to environment due to specific activity” (such as pollution).
  4. Follows principles of Natural Justice
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