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Report No. 186

Original Jurisdiction

The proposed Court shall have original jurisdiction on environmental disputes with all powers of a Civil Court and shall grant (apart from the damages contemplated under the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 in the case of injury on account of use of hazardous substances in its original jurisdiction) all reliefs which a Civil Court can grant under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or other statutes like the Specific Relief Act, including declaration, setting aside of orders by public authorities or the State, permanent injunction, mandatory injunction, appointing receivers to manage the property, damages or compensation, possession etc.

The Court can be approached by way of an original petition. The proposed Court shall also be entitled to pass all interlocutory order.- both ad interim and final, pending disposal of the original petitions. A fixed court fee of Rs.1000 should alone be payable in the original petitions that may be filed before the proposed Court. The Court must have powers to award exemplary costs if frivolous or vexatious original petitions are filed.

Definition of 'environment' as in section 2(f) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 can be engrafted into the proposed Act as follows:

"'environment' includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human beings; other living creatures, plaints, micro-organism and property."

We can have a provision defining 'environmental pollution' as in section 2C(b)(c) of the 1986 Act.

So far as the jurisdiction of the Court is concerned, it must be provided that the Court will have jurisdiction

(a) to protect the right to safe drinking water and the right to an environment that is not harmful to one's health or well being and

(b) to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations so as to

(i) prevent environmental pollution and ecological degradation

(ii) promote conservation and

(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Explanation has to be added to the above (proposed) provision that the jurisdiction shall include

(a) the protection of natural environment, forests, wild life, sea, lakes, rivers, streams, fauna and flora;

(b) preservation of natural resources of the earth;

(c) prevention, abatement and control of environmental pollution including water, air and noise pollution;

(d) enforcement of any legal or constitutional rights relating to environment and pollution under the Constitution of India or under any other law for the time being in force;

(e) protection of monuments and places, objects of artistic or historical interest of national importance as declared by the law made by Parliament.

Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts Back

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