Dedicated courts for environmental cases set up

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Tuesday launched the National Green Tribunal (NGT), aimed at expediting the hearing of environmental cases in the country.

However, it will take some time before the tribunal starts functioning.

“It is an important initiative and India is only the third country, after Australia and New Zealand, to have a dedicated court. Anybody and everybody can approach the NGT for civil damages arising out of non-implementation of various laws of environment,” said Ramesh.

There were about 5,000 environmental cases pending in various courts of the country, he said.

“Since the NGT is proposed to have judicial as well as expert members, it is likely to result in effective disposal of such cases which involve multi-disciplinary issues,” he added.

Former Supreme Court judge L.K. Panta was appointed as the chairman of the NGT Monday.

The tribunal, headquartered in New Delhi, will have four circuit branches in four regions of the country.

“We are yet to finalise the regions and the appointments of legal and environmental experts,” said Panta.

“These benches will be mobile and they won’t wait for people to come, but will have sittings in different parts of the country,” Ramesh explained.

According to Ramesh, the best part of the tribunal is that there is no limit to the compensation which they can award to aggrieved parties. Under the prevalent Public Liability Insurance Act, the district collector can award a maximum compensation of Rs.25,000.

With the launch of NGT, the National Environment Appellate Authority ceases to exist and all the cases will be transferred to the tribunal.

Filed under: Environment

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