National Green Tribunal in India: Examining the Question of Jurisdiction

Can a tribunal deliver justice? By posing this rhetorical question we attempt to historically contextualize the introduction of the tribunal system of adjudication in India. Some of these tribunals have been able to evolve into mechanisms that have overcome their birth infirmities. Supreme Court has intervened and supported strengthening of these tribunals and their evolution into entities (if not fully but certainly) more independent of the executive. We explore these questions through a case study of the National Green Tribunal – specifically focusing on the subject of jurisdiction. NGT is the newest of these tribunals that have been established since the Constitutional amendment was passed allowing for them. The jurisdiction of the NGT although statutorily limited, has evolved in the light of Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the powers of tribunals. Further the nature of environmental disputes are such that the NGT has had to expansively interpret both procedural mechanisms such as limitation period for allowing more disputes to be brought to the bench and by entering substantive areas such as climate change.

This paper is also available under Research Gate.