Statutory bodies are an organisation of government which are not mentioned in
the constitution and derived its powers from the act of the parliament or
legislature. It deals with a specific subject. National green tribunal result of
an act of parliament of India i.e. National Green Tribunal Act 2010 and
established on 18.10.2010 for speedy and effective disposal of cases related to
environment. In the same line Pollution Control Board is also established under
the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. It is divided into
central board and state board. They both play a huge role in enforcing rules to
safeguard the environment and for sustainable development.
Section 1 will define the statutory body, NGT, PCBs and its history. Section
2 will deal with environmental protection during ancient and medieval
period. Section 3 will discuss the idea of NGT and PCBs and why it was
needed. Section 4 will focus on the important judgement of NGTs and rules by the
PCBs. Section 5 will discuss its role in environmental regulations and its
effect. Section 6 contains the conclusion.
“Time spent among trees is never time wasted” this quote is depicting the role
of environment in human life. In present era the statutory bodies are playing
important roles in preventing and preserving the environment.
An organisation which has authority, power to check the activities perform by
It is established by an act of parliament. The purpose of the establishment of
the statutory bodies is to analyze the data and make judgement in some arena of
activity. In fact it is an organisation of government which is not mentioned or
defined in the constitution of India. The parliament is not so broad so that it
can deal each and every issue or can make laws in every field. So it constitutes
some statutory bodies to tackle the matter or to make the rules and regulations
related to any technical field because some fields need specialized and
And so NGT and PCBs were constituted which needs specialised knowledge related
to environment and various pollution and can be deal by the persons who have
good knowledge of it.
National Green Tribunal
When burden on the courts started increasing and case related to environmental
issues started increasing in the courts, the legislature passed an act to
establish the NGT i.e. National Green Tribunal Act 2010 on 18.10.2018 to reduce
the burden of litigation on higher courts. The purpose of NGT Act 2010 is to
speedy and effective disposal of cases related to environment protection and
conservation of forest and other natural resources.
It runs on the principle of “Polluters Pays”. Polluters Pays principle says that
who produces pollution should bear the cost of the managing it to prevent damage
to human health or the environment. It has drew inspiration from the article 21
of the constitution of India which says “No person shall be deprived of his life
or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.”
Power Of National Green Tribunal
The NGT has power to hear all civil matters which are related to environment,
questions regarding the enforcement and implementations of laws which fall under
seven categories of laws namely:
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
NGT is a statutory body so it has power to regulate the procedure by itself. It
also follows the principles of natural justice and sustainable development. It
will have same power s of the civil court in deciding the matter falling within
these seven legal acts. Even the NGT will not be bound by the rules of
evidence act.NGT can not entertain every matter related to the
and this is its major drawback. For instance NGT cannot admit a suit for cutting
of trees in a forest even though it is related to environment because
protection of forest act is not within the jurisdiction of NGT. It has a strong
order enforcing mechanism and if the orders of NGT are not followed than it has
power to impose fine as well as punishment. This act provides various types of
relief and injunction.
If a person is not satisfied with the judgement of NGT, he/she can seek the
review of the decision of NGT under article 22 of the NGT rule even then if he
is not satisfied can appeal in the Supreme Court of India within 90 days of the
order passed by the NGT.
Composition Of National Green Tribunal
NGT consists of minimum 10 members and not more than 20 members. This will be in
accordance with notification of central government. The members are mix of
environmentalist and judges. Every bench shall consist of at least one judge and
at least one environmentalist. If a deadlock arises, the final decision would be
To become the chairperson of NGT, one should have been judge in SC or chief
justice of any High Court and to be qualified for judicial member the person
should have been judge of the High Court. To be qualified as an expert member of
the tribunal, a person shall posses a degree of master of sciences weather
physical or life sciences with a doctorate degree or master of technology or
master of engineering having 15 years of experience in that field with a 5 years
experience of environment and forests.
Structure Of National Green Tribunal
According to NGT Act 2010, New Delhi is principle bench of the NGT with regional
benches in Pune (Western Zone Bench), Bhopal (Central Zone Bench), Chennai
(Southern Bench) and Kolkata (Eastern Bench). Each bench has limited and
specified geographical jurisdiction in several states in a region.
Pollution Control Boards
Cental Pollution Control Board is also a statutory organisation and it was
constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of
Pollution) Act, 1974. It was constituted at centre level as Central pollution
Control Board and at state level as State Pollution Control Board. Further,
CPCBs was entrusted with the powers and functions undr the Air (Prevention and
Control Pollution) Act, 1981.
Principal function of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of
Pollution) Act, 1981, (i) to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in
different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water
pollution, and (ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or
abate air pollution in the country.
It provides the technical support to the Ministry of Environment and forest. It
has an automatic monitoring station at ITO New Delhi. Central Pollution Control
Board also provide background air quality data needed for industrial sitting and
towns planning. The main objective was to provide for the prevention and control
of water pollution the maintaining or restoring of wholesomeness of water.
Just like CPCB, SPCBs have similar functions to be executed at state level and
are governed by the directions of Central Pollution Control Board.
India is a unique sub-continent with vast cultures and various geographical,
tropical variations with different types of seasons and community. And if we see
the history we can trace that environmental protection is not the wake of
current era but it is happening before 5000 years from Ancient time.
Environmental Protection During Ancient Time
In the Hindu theology forest, trees, rivers, mountains have a unique place and
have high respect. We can also observe the important place of trees, forest and
rivers in Purans and Upnishads.
The Rig Veda emphasised the importance of nature in controlling the climate and
how it has improved the human life.
Atharva Veda considered trees as abode of various gods and goddess and
cutting of tress means disrespecting the gods and goddess.
Yajur Veda emphasized that relationship with nature and animals should not be
that of dominion and subjugation but of mutual respect and kindness. If we go
through the Yajnavalkya Smriti we can observe that there was penalty for cutting
trees. Hindu society was very serious about the adverse effect of environment
caused by deforestation.
In Mauryan period there were perspective legal provisions for environmental
protection and it can be observed in Kautilya's Arthshatra. There was specific
administration and various punishments were prescribed for cutting trees,
damaging forest and killing animals.
Environmental Protection During Medieval India
Environmental protection is not a new concept in India. It can be traced also in
medieval periods through law or customs.
During Moghul period , different kinds of flower and plants were planted outside
central and provincial headquarters , at public places, on the bank of the
Though the Moghul emperor were great nature lovers but there were no specific
laws to protect forest and rivers. For them forest was just a source of woods.
Still there were some trees on which people had restriction because it was
supposed to be Royal Trees.
Environmental Protection During British Rule
Early days of British rule in India were days of plunder of natural resources.
They used the natural resources as much as they can without thinking about the
future needs and adverse effects on the climate. When the British government
understand the importance the British Governor started exercising control over
forests in the year 1806 and a commission was appointed to enquire into the
availability of teek in Malabar and Travancore.
But the beginning of the organized forest management to conserve forest started
in 1864 when they appointed first Inspector General of forest and the task of
forest department under the Inspector General was that of exploration of
resources, demarcation of reserves, protection of forest etc.
The Indian Forest Act 1865 passed by Supreme Council in England and it was
amended in 1878. The provisions of this Act established a virtual state monopoly
over the forest in a legal sense on one hand and attempted to establish, on the
other, the customary use of forest by the villagers as not a right, but a
privilege that could be withdrawn at will. The Indian Easements Act, 1882,
the Indian Fisheries Act, 1897, the Bombay Smoke Nuisance Act, 1912, and the
Bengal Smoke Nuisance Act, 1905, was other enactments that dealt with different
aspects of environment.
But the purpose of Britishers was never to safeguard the environment. They were
doing everything and implementing laws to run their business in safe mode and to
complete their needs.
Origin of the idea of establishing environmental courts in India
The Supreme Court of India suggested that there should be environmental courts
on regional basis with professional judges and 2 experts keeping in mind the
kind of expertise needed to deal with such issues. This was emphasized many
a times by the Supreme Court that there is need of such a tribunal which can
deal only matters regarding environment so that the burden on higher courts can
be reduced and people seek justice as soon as possible.
The courts were facing a
lot of problems while dealing with the cases related to environment because they
did not have expertise panel of environment. The demand of a specific tribunal
increased after Bhopal Gas Tragedy where people hardly get justification.
result of a dire need of speedy justice The National Green Tribunal founded. It
was a result of long procedure and the demand for such tribunal started long
back in the year 1984 after the Bhopal gas tragedy. Then the Supreme Court
specifically mentioned the need for such tribunals in the case where the gas
leaked from Shriram food and fertilizers limited in Delhi.
The Supreme Court
than in a number of cases highlighted the difficulty faced by judges in
adjudicating on complex environmental cases and laid emphasis on the need to set
up a specialized environmental court. Though the credit for enacting the NGT
Act, 2010 goes to the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, it became
functional only because of repeated directions of the Supreme Court while
hearing the Special Leave Petition titled Union of India v. Vimal Bhai
Origin of the idea of establishing PCBs in India
After the Stockholm conference in June 1972, it was considered that there was a
need of uniform law all over the country to tackle the v\broad environmental
problems which is damaging the health of our people as well as flora and fauna.
In the wake if this conference, Indian parliament enacted The Water (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 under Article 252 of the Constitution
provided for the establishment of Pollution Control Boards in the Centre and at
the State levels. This is also the first specific and comprehensive legislation
institutionalizing simultaneously the regulatory agencies for controlling water
The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards are
result of this act. According to the Art 5 A (g) of the constitution of India,
it is the fundamental duties of every citizen of India to protect and improve
the natural environment including Forest, Lakes, Rivers and Wildlife and to have
compassion for living creatures. The main objective of Water Act to prevent the
water pollution in India.
Pollution means contamination of water or such alteration of the Physical,
Chemical or Biological properties of water or such discharge of any sewage or
trade effluent or of any other liquid, gas and solid substances into water as
may be the case or is likely to create nuisance or render such water harmful or
injurious to public health or safety or to domestic, commercial, industrial,
agricultural or other legitimate uses, or to the life and health of animals or
plant or of aquatic organizations.
To control this trade effluent and other wastes which is contaminating the water
by making some rules and regulations and proper checking the application of it
the PCBs are established.
From the date of establishment NGT and PCBs are serving their purpose. Recently
NGT directed German auto major Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore with Central
Pollution Control Board by saying that Volkswagen is causing
serious environmental damage by using a cheat device that lowered vehicular
emissions only during tests.
Within the short span of 7 years, the Tribunal has given some landmark judgments
that changed the course of environmental law and environmental protection in
Almitra H. Patel & Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors.
In this case, Mrs. Almitra Patel and another had filed a PIL under Article 32 of
the Constitution of India before the Apex Court whereby the Petitioner sought
the immediate and urgent improvement in the practices that are presently adopted
for the way Municipal Solid Waste or garbage is treated in India. The tribunal
found that the matter is very serious because all over the country lakhs of
tonnes of raw garbage dumped every day and there is no proper treatment of the
The tribunal directed every state and UT to implement the Solid Waste Management
Rules, 2016 immediately and prepare an action plan in terms of the Rules within
4 weeks. And also directed Central, State government and people to follow their
duties under this rule without any dealy. And the important judgement of the
tribunal in this case was the tribunal directed a complete prohibition on open
burning of waste on lands, including at landfills.
Ms. Betty C. Alvares vs. The State of Goa and Ors.
A complaint regarding various instances of illegal construction in the Coastal
Regulation Zone of Candolim, Goa was made by a personal of foreign nationality.
Her name was Betta Alvarez. Before the case could be decided on merits the
maintainability of the main application was challenged on two grounds. First,
Betty Alvarez had no locus standi in the matter because she was not an Indian
and so can not take benefits of Art 21 of the Constitution of India. Second, the
matter was barred by the law of limitation and should be dismissed.
The Tribunal held that Section 2(j) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 the
very act by which the Tribunal has come into being. Interpreting this Section,
the Tribunal found that the word 'person' deserves to be construed in a broad
sense to include an individual, whether a national or a person who is not an
Indian citizen. The Court noted that going into the details of Betty's
nationality is not required.The Court laid down in very bold terms that once it
is found that any person can file a proceeding related to the environmental
dispute, Ms. Betty's application is maintainable without regards to the question
of her nationality.
If we focus on the PCBs, it was established with the objective to make rules and
regulations and to enforce it to safeguard the water and the environment and to
maintain the wholesomeness of the water. There is a very famous case in which
SPCB intervene to fulfil its objective.
A.P. Pollution Control Board v M.V Nayadu
According to the Pollution Control Board, under the notification No.
J.20011/15/88-iA, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India dated
27.9.1988, vegetable oils including solved extracted oils
were listed in the RED hazardous category. On 31.3.1994, the Municipal Administration and Urban
Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh prohibited various types of
development within 10 km radius of two lakes, Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar, in
order to monitor the quality of water in these reservoirs which supplied water
to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
In January 1995, the
respondent company was incorporated as public limited company with the object of
setting up an industry for production of B.S.S. Castor oil derivatives and
purchased 12 acres of land in Peddashpur village. The AP Pollution Control Board
rejected the application because it was falling under the radius of 10 km and
the industry was a polluting industry.
The court said that cases like this needs expertise panel to check and give the
judgement so it Supreme Court referred the case to the Appellate Authority under
the National Environmental Appellate Authority Act, 1997 because at that time
NGT was not established.
The court, therefore, referred the above issues to the above-said Appellate
Authority for its opinion and requested the Authority to give its opinion, as
far as possible, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of
NGT is working mainly for environmental justice and helping in handling the
situation related to right to good health of the citizens which came under the
fundamental right of citizen under article 21 of our constitution. Main reason
behind the success of NGT is this because it is follows the principle of NATURAL
JUSTICE so that it is more faster in the decision making than Indian judiciary
system because they are following the code of civil procedure.
and quick decision making helps in maintaining good environment condition which
is very good for health specially the children and old age persons. It is
helping in saving the money and time of the people so that they can invest in
productive way. It is empowering the citizen of country related to environment
issues and decreasing the environment degrading problem due participation of
community at large scale.
Till now NGT has given several judgements, imposed penalty, issued injunction
and these all has provided and is providing great support to safeguard the
environment and the health of the people too. People who are facing problems can
seek help of NGT if the matter is related to the environment.
This Separate Environmental Court made people accounting for their acts that
cause damage to nature.
Recent instances of Penalizing Art of Living of 4.5 crore for polluting Food
plains on Yamuna River bank, Banning Diesel Vehicles of older than 10 years in
Kerala, No construction zone of 75 meters in Bangalore, cancellation of clearance
of Coal blocks in Chattisgarh forest, Imposing fine on burning waste in Open,
highlighting Bellandur lake pollution
shows that the Tribunal is meeting its demand.
These kinds of Institutions are
necessary for a democratic society. Only because of these institutions we can
achieve Paris Climate Summit Goal of limiting the increase in temperature of
global Warming below 2 degree. These all speedy actions of NGT are serving the
purpose of its establishment.
The purposes of the establishment of the CPCBs are various works like:
The purposes of the establishment of the SPCBs are various works like:
- Performing functions as per Section 16 of Water and Air Acts (a set of
- Issue directions to SPCBs under Section 18; and can take over functions
of any SPCB in a given area for a specified time
- Issuance of directions (directly) to industries under Section 5 of EPA;
and • Co-ordinating role under Rules (framed under EPA)
- To Central Govt. and to judiciary (as per Directions) on matters
pertaining to abatement of pollution.
- Co-ordination under Bilateral/ multilateral agreements
Research and Development
- R&D on thrust areas (Research Committee/ Linkages with R&D institution)
- Advanced laboratory at Head Office and regular AQC for SPCBs and EPA Labs /
- Advisory functions
The State Pollution Control Board is to advise the state government on any
matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution.
- Dissemination of Information
The State Pollution Control Board is to collect and disseminate information
relating to water pollution and the prevention, control or abatement thereof.
- Investigation and research
The State Pollution Control Board is to encourage, conduct and participate in
investigation and research relating to problems of water pollution and
prevention, control or abatement of water pollution etc.
It has power to tale sample of water from any well, river or from trade
effluents for analysis. By this means they check the quality of water and direct
the further steps to maintain the wholesomeness of water.
In the case of Delhi Bottling Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Central Board for the Prevention
and Control of Water Pollution
, a sample of trade effluent was taken by the
board from bottling company's discharge stream and after analysis was found not
conforming the requirements of the consent order granted to company.
filed a suit under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and
accordingly an injunction was issued by the court requiring the company to
establish a treatment plant which the bottling company challenged. The Court
held that the sample was not taken in strict compliance with procedure as under
Section 21 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and this
evidence cannot be regarded as admissible.
NGT and PCBs plays a huge role in environmental regulation. Though NGT is facing
a lots of challenges. It has lack of infrastructure and because of it the body
is pronouncing its judgment in slow manner. The number of environmental cases
has been on the rise but due to lack of benches and infrastructure, the body is
unable to pronounce its judgment on time.
The NGT is working and pronouncing its judgment brilliantly on the cases related
to environmental issues and challenges. The government should make it more
autonomous and efficient in a view to the growing concern regarding the
environment and climate change.
Also PCBs has faced a lot of problems and still facing a lots of challenges
because of the lack of the infrastructure and lack of the financial support. In
a matter CPCB was failed to answer a very relevant question. The Central
Pollution Control Board doesn't provide any data or explanation of whether, and
why, the current methodology failed in correctly identifying polluted areas.
However, India is doing well when it comes to the environmental or climate
change issue as compared to other developed and developing countries of the
- Art 21, Constitution of India
- Citizens welfare forum v. union of India(1996) 5 SCC 647
- Section 19(3), national green tribunal act, 2010
- http://www.conservationindia.org/resources/ngt, last accessed 19/1/2019
- Section 5, national green tribunal act, 2010
last accessed 19/1/2019 at PM 11.27
last accessed 19/1/2019 at PM 11.27
- https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/law/environmental-protection-during-ancient-and-medieval-periods-law-general-essay.php last
accessed 19.1.2019 at PM 10.0
- 186Th Report on Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts.
- SLP (civil) No(s). 12065/2009
- Misc Application No. 32/2014(WZ)
last accessed 20/1/2019 at PM 5.22
- AIR 1986 Delhi 152
last accessed 21.1.2019 at AM 1.47