Priyanka Priyadarshini, a student from Hidayatullah National Law University, writes on the importance of the National Green Tribunal.
It has always been a struggle to bring about sustainable development, which is resolved through the concomitant roles of legislation, executive action and adjudication. It is through their collective functioning that the foundation of environmental jurisprudence in India was laid. However, due to the proliferation of litigation and environmental concerns in equal measure, the judiciary had become incapable of disposing of cases in a timely manner. This led to the establishment of the National Green Tribunal, which was set up through the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, after the failure of several statutory authorities. It is a fast track quasi-judicial statutory body comprising of judges and scientific experts and was established in pursuance of the Rio Declaration, Stockholm Conference and the 186th Law Commission Report, to adjudicate upon matters involving substantial questions of the law relating to the environment. It provides a new dimension to environmental adjudication by curtailing delays and imparting objectivity. The Tribunal, given its composition and jurisdiction, with powers to settle environmental disputes and provide relief and compensation including restitution of the environment, is envisaged to be a specialized environmental adjudicatory body having both original as well as appellate jurisdiction. Though the NGT has been an efficient adjudication framework, there are several hindrances which lay in its path.
This paper is an endeavor to analyze the circumstances culminating in the establishment of the NGT, the positive results streaming out of its establishment, the scenario prior to the establishment of the NGT, the benefits derived out of its establishment and the several pitfalls which affect its efficacious functioning. Several improvements have been suggested by the author to buttress the adjudication mechanism established through NGT.