National Green Tribunal Bill (Part1)
The establishment of National Green Tribunal is a historical step towards ‘Sustainable Growth’ by Govt of India. The act provides framework to establish special environmental courts under some defined laws of central govt. The basic aim to establish tribunals is to give speedy disposal of Environment cases (also suggested by Supreme Court) and conservation of forests and other natural resources. The bill will repeal two acts National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 & NEAA, 1997 Act. India is the 3rd country after Canada & New Zealand to establish environment courts in the whole country. Tribunal and Its Members
- The Central govt shall, by notification, establish a Tribunal to be known as National Green Tribunal to exercise their jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on Tribunal by this act.
- The Tribunal shall consist of Chairperson, judicial members & expert members as they are permanent members can’t hold any other office during their tenure. But Chairperson can invite anyone with specialized knowledge/experience in particular case if necessary.
- The various ordinary places of sitting of Tribunal are Delhi (Principal Place), Bhopal, Mumbai, Calcutta & Chennai as notify by central govt divided as per their terrestrial jurisdiction. If a judicial member is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to sit at another place within its terrestrial jurisdiction then by approval of Chairperson he may sit at that place.
Qualifications and Quorum
- Qualifications for Chairperson – current/retired Judge of SC & CJ of High Court;
- Judicial Member – current/retired Judge of SC & High Court;
- Expert Member – M.sc+Ph.d (Life Sciences)/M.tech + 15 year experience in relevant field include 5 years practical experience in field of environment & forests in a reputed national level institution. Or 15 year administrative experience includes 5 years in environment matters.
- Initially it was not clear that what will be the minimum strength of Judicial and Expert members but later MOEF cleared that the strength for both shall be b/w 10-20 members.
- The term of office will be 5 years and not eligible for re-appointment (provided max age limit to hold office for SC judge 70yrs, HC judge 67 yrs & expert member 65yrs).
- At least 1 Judicial & 1 expert member shall be present for hearing as the case may be. For any special case more than 2 members can be present if chairperson considered it necessary.
Appointment and Removal
- The Chairperson and Judicial Members of Tribunal can be removed from office by Central Govt in consultation with CJI on charges of misuse of power, physically/mentally incapable, insolvent and hold any other office of profit.
- The Central can remove chairperson or judicial member only if found guilty in an inquiry made by judge of SC in such case and after giving reasonable opportunity of being heard to him.
- The Expert member can also be removed on above charges by procedure as determined by central govt but after providing him sufficient opportunity of being heard.
- The Chairperson shall be appointed by central govt after consultation with Chief Justice of India.
- The Judicial and Expert Members shall be appointed by central govt on recommendation of Selection Committee (Rules 2010) which shall consist of:-
- Sitting Judge of SC as nominated by CJI;
- Chairperson of NGT;
- Secretary to Govt of India, Ministry of Environment & Forest;
- Director IIT Kanpur and Director IIM Ahmadabad;
- President of Center for Policy Research, New Delhi.