National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal is a statutory body established by a Government Notification using the powers of Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010. It has replaced National Environment Appellate Authority. India became third country in the world to start a National Green Tribunal (NGT) which is a judicial body exclusively meant to judge environmental cases.


The objective of establishing a National Green Tribunal was as follows:

  • To provide effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment.
  • Giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property
  • Other Related Matters.

Chairperson and Members of NGT

  • It has a full-time chairperson and following members:
  • At least 10 and maximum 20 Full time Judicial members
  • At least 10 and maximum 20 Full time Expert Members

Qualification for Chairperson

  • The person should have been either a Judge of India’s Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a High Court in India.

Qualification for Judicial member

  • A Judge of Supreme Court of India, Chief Justice of High Court, Judge of a High Court

Qualification for Expert members

  • Either a degree in Master of Science (in physical sciences or life sciences) with a Doctorate degree or Master of Engineering or Master of Technology
  • Or an experience of fifteen years in the relevant field and administrative experience of fifteen years in Central or a State Government or in a reputed National or State level institution.
  • Post retirement jobs
  • Once retired, the chairman or judicial members can not take up any job related to matters of this tribunal for at least 2 years.

Other Notes

  • Appointment of members is done by Central Government.
  • Chairperson of NGT is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
  • Judicial Members and Expert Members ofthe Tribunal are appointed on the recommendations of such Selection Committee.
  • Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member hold office for 5 years.
  • Maximum age of the chairman 70 years if he has been a Supreme Court Judge and 67 years, if he has been a high court judge.
  • Chairperson can be removed from his office via an order made by the Central Government after an inquiry made by a Judge of the Supreme Court in which such Chairperson or Judicial Member has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.


The National Green Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases where a substantial question relating to environment (including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment), is involved and such question arises out of the implementation of the enactments specified in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. The acts listed in Schedule 1 are:

  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control o[Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
  • The Forest (Conservation) Act,
  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

It would deal with all environmental laws on air and water pollution, the Environment Protection Act, the Forest Conservation Act and the Biodiversity Act.

Important cases and decisions of NGT


So far, POSCO case has been the most important in NGT history. Its order to suspend the establishment of 12MTPA capacity steel plant in Odisha came as a radical  step in favour of the local tribals and forest dwellers. The NGT remained firm on its ground to support the sustainable development and valued the profit for local communities from the project.

Sterlite Industries Case

In Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin, a UK-based Vedanta Group company, Sterlite Industries Ltd was running a copper smelter plant since 1995-96 producing around 4 Lakh tonnes of copper per year. This plant is located in Sipkot Industrial Complex which is near to residential area. In March 2013, the residents complained of a gas leak, pollution and the protest was such that it persuaded the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to shut the plant on 29 March. Since then, this company is entangled into the legal matters including its petition in Supreme Court as well as NGT. Earlier NGT has passed order in favour of the industries while stating that no action should be suspicion based.

Goa Foundation Case

This case was a landmark case which established NGTs jurisdiction in all civil cases demanding a substantial question of Environment.  Goa Foundation is one of the environment action groups of Goa known for filing around 80 PILs towards environment related matters. It has filed a petition in NGT and sought protection of the Western Ghats and prayed for directions to the respondents to exercise the powers conferred upon them under the enactments stated in Schedule I to the NGT Act, 2010 for preservation and protection of Western Ghats within the framework, as enunciated by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. The Tribunal directed the MoEF to file its reply on the report within 4 weeks. The tribunal put ban on all forms of illegal river and ocean bed sand mining.

No Construction around rajakaluves and lakes in Bangalore

The NGT had imposed a no-construction zone of 75 metres around lakes and rajakaluves (stormwater drains) in Bengaluru.

Banning of Diesel Vehicles in Kerala & Delhi

In May 2016, the Kochi circuit bench of NGT banned all diesel vehicles more than 10 years old from operating in six cities of Kerala. It was stayed by High Court later. A similar interim decision was earlier taken for Delhi also and invited widespread controversy and criticism of NGT. Unaffected by this, NGT plans to put such a ban in 15 major Indian cities with the worst air quality levels soon.

Art of Living Foundation Issue

NGT fined Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation for damage to Yamuna floodplains while making preparations for World Culture Festival from March 11 to 13, 2016 on the banks of the river.

Role played by NGT

NGT is counted among India’s relatively few institutions that hold the public trust. In the last four years, the NGT judgements have been hailed for setting revolutionary precedents to demonstrate the importance and need for change in the environmental jurisprudence. Over this period, its judgements have become stricter in their approach. The Tribunal has not been lenient to either Governments or Ministry of Environment. It has not only issued warrants against high profile government authorities, but has also pulled ministry of environment for not filing its report on Gadgil Report on Western Ghats.


  1. Anonymous

    November 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    headed by Lokeshwar Singh Pandey

  2. Anonymous

    December 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    its lokeshwar singh panta


    November 22, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Thank u so much

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