What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Why in news ?
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) sought response from the Tamil Nadu government and the State Pollution Control Board on a plea moved by Vedanta Ltd challenging the State government?s order to permanently close the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi.

What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)

NGT is a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.

The tribunal is created by an Act of the Parliament of India; National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) and is inspired by Article 21 of the constitution which assures the right to a healthy environment for the citizens of India. India is third country after Australia and New Zealand to setup such an institution.

The tribunal is guided by principles of natural justice and not and not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure. NGT have "New Delhi" as the Principal Place of Sitting and is bound to disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months.

The tribunal consists of a Chairman (A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court), 10-20 judicial members and 10-20 expert members. Apart from them the chairman can call upon any person(s) assist the tribunal on individual case basis.

Although the tribunal does not follow civil law rather works on principles of natural justice, yet the tribunal award has powers equivalent to Civil court.

The tribunal is eligible to hear cases from different acts including Forest (Conservation) Act, Biological Diversity Act, Environment (Protection) Act, Water & Air (Prevention & control of Pollution) Acts etc.

Any aggrieved person can appeal in High Court or Supreme Court against the tribunal decision or award.

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