Question is simple and straightforward. You have to discuss how Ac of 1919 or Montagu Chelmsford Reform (MCR) influenced our present day constitution. Most of the discussion on constitution takes into the account GoI Act of 1935 and how it influenced provisions in our constitution. But of not more then equally important was MCR with respect to our constitution. Most of the important provisions of our present day political system are the result of MCR.
Features like bicameral legislature, devolution of power to local self governance, federal polity with state governments, state lists & union lists, public service commission, practice of voting in choosing our representatives etc are some of the key features of MCR that got reflected in our constitution.
Before ending the answer, mention few shortcomings of MCR but not in details.
The NGT was established in 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.
Mandate of NGT:
The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases related to:
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; (aka EPA)
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991; (good option to confuse)
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
How NGT is different than regular judiciary:
- The NGT is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
- NGT is also not bound by the rules of evidence as enshrined in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Thus, it will be relatively easier for conservation groups to present facts and issues before the NGT, including pointing out technical flaws in a project, or proposing alternatives that could minimize environmental damage but which have not been considered.
- While passing Orders/decisions/awards, the NGT will apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principles.
Performance of NGT so far:
- NGT as an institution has kept itself immune from the political pressure. Some of its decision like banning old diesel cars without bothering political pressure is laudable .
- Quick disposal of cases is an achievement of NGT. Indian judicial system is characterised by delays and deadlocks . NGT proved itself more efficient and quick.
- NGT did not compromise with environmental degradation and take strong actions. Eg: imposing fine on art of living for degrading ecology of Yamuna basin.
- NGT has expert from environment field , unlike our judiciary system. one of the criticism of indian judiciary is its judges have limited knowledge in different field and lack of interest in updating knowledge.
- By cancellation of clearance of Coal blocks in Chhattisgarh forests, imposing fine on burning waste in open and highlighting Bellandur lake pollution, NGT touched the environmental issues that affected the common people.
- Many judgment like Posco case judgment for sustainable development in favour of local communities, Goa foundation case for implementation of western ghat expert panel report, sand mining order put a ban on all forms of Illegal River and Ocean bed sand mining which were rampant across the country are very important in sustainable development and environmental protection.
- NGT ordered to set up panel to monitor Sunderbans as NGT observed violation of Coastal Regulation Zone.
Issues with NGT:
- It has faced criticism over judicial activism without taking into considerations of economic impact of its decisions on common people.
- People from other parts of the country are to some extent restricted from easily accessing the it.
- The members of NGT are chosen from among serving/retired judges and bureaucrats. This has reduced it to being a parking lot for retired judges and bureaucrats, which does not augur well.
- The Act doesn’t provide jurisdiction to Tribunal over all laws related to environment such as Wildlife Protection Act (1972), Indian Forest Act 1927, Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights Act) 2005 and various other state legislation’s.
- Despite various proactive support being taken by the tribunal the pollution levels has been continuously rising over the years. This is due to lack of effective support from government both at the centre as well in states.
- Inefficiency of Central and State pollution control boards is another reason for it. This often results in delays in implementing the tribunal’s decision.
- In the act there is a provision for appeal to tribunal within a period of 6 month of origin of cause of environmental problem. This is small time for reflection of negative impacts of environmental changes.
By providing functional autonomy like UPSC and RBI, maintaining transparency and bringing it under RTI and upgrading NGT from that of a tribunal to a court will go a long way in its working and efficiency. NGT has done well so far. India is among the few countries which have dedicated judiciary for environment protection. Lets build upon this achievement and provide a sustainable future to the nation while maintaining balance between development and environment.