Union Government by amending National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedure) Rules, 2011 on December 1, 2017 has allowed National Green Tribunal (NGT) to form constitute a single-member benches.
As per the earlier rules on two or more members with at least one judicial member and another expert was required to make a bench under NGT. However the one-member benches can only be formed in exceptional circumstances only as peer the amendments. The notification didn’t explained that what kinds of circumstances will be considered exceptional.
Need for one-member benches in NGT?
This move has been taken to tackle the less staff problems in NGT. Right now both regional benches from Chennai and Kolkata are working with only one judicial member each because the expert members in those departments have retired. Also the expert member of in the principal bench in Delhi will soon be getting retired.
According to NGT Act 2010, the mandatory conditions for a person to be NGT chairperson are that he or she must be a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court. However rules also says that a judicial member or expert member for three years is also qualified to be NGT chairperson.
National Green Tribunal (NGT)
NGT was established in the year 2010, under National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for the purpose of environmental protection and to deal the cases related to it. It has been given powers to adjudicating on matters related to environment, forests and any kind of harm to people or property due to negligence of environmental obligations of infrastructure.