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
- Centre has passed a notification allowing the NGT chairperson to “constitute a single-member bench” in “exceptional circumstances.”
Issues in NGT functioning
- At present, the regional benches in Chennai and Kolkata are both functioning with one judicial member each and the expert members have retired.
- The expert member in the principal bench in Delhi is expected to retire later this week.
- Instead of the government taking the time to fill up vacancies, it is now attempting to reduce the bench to a single-member.
- This may not hold water as a notification cannot amend the principal Act.
- The essence of the NGT was to have both “technical and judicial” members. Otherwise, the tribunal will function no differently from a high court.
- Vacancies also affect the institutional memory which are important to keep the continuity in hearing cases.
Earlier Rule Change
- 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
- 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
- The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
- Members: full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members. Judicial and Expert Members: 10 minimum and 20 maximum in each category.
- has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” and & “damage to environment due to specific activity” (such as pollution).
- Follows principles of Natural Justice