‘Green tribunal has a role in striking balance between development and environment’

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Judicial member of National Green Tribunal’s (NGT)western region bench in Pune has said that the green tribunalhas a mission to strike a fine balance in India’s struggle between development and protection of environment by securing apt justice for environment litigations.
Justice Rahim was addressing a workshop on `Role of NGT in environment protection’ organised by Bharati Vidyapeeth‘s New Law College in Pune recently. Dean of Bharati Vidyapeeth’s law faculty Mukund Sarda and senior lawyer F M Mesquita from Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority were on the dais.The NGT, with its principal bench in New Delhi headed by a former Supreme Court chief justice and regional benches in Kolkata, Pune, Bhopal and Chennai, was established by way of the NGT Act passed by the Indian Parliament on October 18, 2010 for expeditious disposal of environmental cases.

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment in the M C Mehta Vs Union of India case had called for setting up of such environmental courts to ensure speedy and effective disposal of cases relating to environment protection, conservation of forests and seeking compensation for damages caused to people or property due to violation of environmental laws and permissions.
Justice Rahim elaborated on various provisions under the NGT Act that are aimed at bridging the gap between the common man and the judicial process, settlement of disputes and the original and appellate jurisdictions of the tribunal. The tribunal possesses the authority to dispose of all civil disputes in relation to environment issues and to provide a new dimension to environment adjudication by curtailing delays and ensuring objectivity, he said.
He said, “Unlike other environmental protection acts, the NGT Act empowers the tribunal to award compensation and ensure compliance of its orders with provisions for penalty including imprisonment up to three years or fine up to Rs 10 crore in case of non-compliance. In case of companies, the monetary penalty can go even up to Rs 25 crore in case of non-compliance of orders.”
Justice Rahim observed that a rightful implementation of the laws relating to the environment and the green tribunal would usher the country towards the path of sustainable development and guarantee a harmonious relationship between environment and society.
Source : The Times of India City
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