Report No. 272
G. National Green Tribunal
3.25 The Supreme Court, in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, 1986 (2) SCC 176 said that as environment cases involve assessment of scientific data, it was desirable to set up dedicated environment courts at a regional level with a Judge and two experts, keeping in view the expertise required for such adjudication. There should be an appeal to the Supreme Court from the decision of the environment Court. The judgment highlighted the difficulties faced by judges while disposing of environmental cases. It further observed that, 'environment Court must be established for expeditious disposal of environmental cases'.
3.26 In Indian Council for Environmental-Legal Action v. Union of India, 1996 (3) SCC 212 the Supreme Court directed that, 'environmental Courts having civil and criminal jurisdiction must be established to deal with the environmental issues in a speedy manner'.
3.27 In A.P. Pollution Control Board v. M.V. Nayudu, 1999 (2) SCC 718 the Court referred to the need for establishing environmental Courts which would have the benefit of expert advice from environmental scientists/technically qualified persons, as part of the judicial process, after an elaborate discussion of the views of jurists of various countries.
3.28 In A.P. Pollution Control Board v. M.V. Nayudu II, 2001 (2) SCC 62 the Supreme Court referred to the constitution of appellate authorities under plenary as well as delegated legislation. With regard to the Appellate authorities constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Court noted that except in one State where the appellate authority was manned by a retired High Court Judge, in other States they were manned only by the bureaucrats. These appellate authorities did not have judicial or environmental expertise on the Bench. The Court held that the Law Commission could examine the disparities in the constitution of these quasi-judicial bodies and suggest a new scheme to bring in uniformity in the structure to have effective supervision of the orders passed by administrative or public authorities, including that of the Government.
3.29 As a consequence, the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were enacted. But the same were found to be inadequate giving rise to demand for dealing with the environmental cases more efficiently and effectively. The Law Commission in its 186th Report suggested multi-faceted Courts with judicial and technical inputs referring to the practice of the environmental Courts in Australia and New Zealand. As a result NGT was formed as a special fast-track, quasi-judicial body comprising of judges and environment experts to ensure expeditious disposal of cases.
3.30 In Techi Tagi Tara v. Rajendra Singh Bhandari, Civil Appeal No. 1359 of 2017, decided on 22 September, 2017 while dealing with the issue related to the power of Executive to frame appropriate rules for the appointment of Chairperson and members of the State Pollution Control Boards, the Supreme Court, relying upon its earlier judgment in State of Punjab v. Salil Sabhlok, (2013) 5 SCC 1 held that it was beyond the competence of NGT to frame rules in respect of appointment of Chairperson and Members of the SPCBs. The Court directed the States to frame appropriate guidelines or recruitment rules taking into consideration the institutional requirements of the SPCBs and also taking into consideration the law laid down by the Supreme Court.