Environment Law Notes and Study Material

When studying for exams or delving deeper into the subject of Environmental Law, having comprehensive and well-organized notes and study materials can make a significant difference. Environmental law, with its broad scope and intricate legal principles, covers a wide array of topics including pollution control, natural resource conservation, and sustainable development. Understanding these facets is crucial for students, legal practitioners, and policymakers alike.

Environmental Law in India is a dynamic field, rooted in both national legislation and international agreements. It encompasses various principles such as the Polluter Pays Principle, the Public Trust Doctrine, and the Precautionary Principle, which guide legal frameworks and judicial decisions. Additionally, significant constitutional provisions and landmark judicial pronouncements have shaped the landscape of environmental protection in India.

In this blog post, we aim to provide you with essential notes and study materials that cover key areas of Environmental Law. These resources are designed to help you grasp the fundamental concepts, navigate through legal texts, and prepare effectively for your exams. From the principles of environmental law to the important legislations and international conventions, we offer a structured overview that caters to both beginners and advanced learners.

Join us as we explore the intricate world of Environmental Law, offering insights and clarity to support your academic and professional journey.

General Principles of Environmental Law

Polluter Pays Principle:

  • Imposes liability on polluters to compensate for environmental damage.
  • Originated from OECD’s Guiding Principles in 1972 and later incorporated into the Rio Declaration for sustainable development.
  • The Indian judiciary incorporated it in cases like Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action Vs. Union of India (1996) and M.C. Mehta v Union of India (1997).

Public Trust Doctrine:

  • Resources like air, sea, waters, and forests are vital to the public and shouldn’t be privately owned.
  • Has historical roots in the Roman Empire and Magna Carta; revived in the USA in the 19th century.
  • Imposes restrictions on the state to preserve, not sell, and not abuse public resources.

Intergenerational Equity:

  • Every generation shares the Earth with past and future generations.
  • First articulated in the 1987 Brundtland Commission Report.
  • Emphasizes fairness in using and conserving environmental resources for long-term sustainability.

Precautionary Principle:

  • Takes proactive measures against threats of severe or irreversible damage, even in the absence of full scientific certainty.
  • Acknowledged in international agreements like the Vienna Convention and the Rio Declaration.
  • Incorporated into Indian law in Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v Union of India (1996) to shift the burden of proof onto developers and industrialists to prevent environmental degradation.

Sustainable Development Principle:

  • Defined as development meeting present needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs (Brundtland Report, 1987).
  • First applied in the Vellore Citizens Welfare case to ensure development doesn’t harm the environment or public health in the long term.

Deep Pocket Theory:

  • Discussed in M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (1986) – Sriram Industries case regarding Oleum gas leak.
  • Principle states that compensation for damages caused by hazardous activities should correlate with the economic capacity of the enterprise to act as a deterrent.
  • The Indian judiciary rejected this theory due to its potential impact on global corporate governance.

Rule of Absolute Liability:

  • Originated in M.C. Mehta vs Union of India (1986) following the Oleum gas leak incident in Delhi.
  • Under this principle, hazardous industries cannot claim exemptions and must pay compensation regardless of negligence.
  • Replaced strict liability to ensure companies are fully liable for harm caused to the community, especially in the wake of incidents like the Bhopal Gas tragedy.
  • Incorporated into the NGT Act of 2010, mandating absolute liability for hazardous enterprises even in cases of accidents not caused by negligence.

Constitutional Provisions for the Protection of Environment

1. Historical Background:

  • At the time of the Constitution’s enactment, there were no specific provisions for environmental protection.
  • The Preamble mentioned India as a Socialist Country, highlighting the state’s responsibility towards social problems.
  • Rapid industrialization led to environmental pollution, recognized as a social issue, necessitating state intervention for a pollution-free environment.
  • The Stockholm Conference in 1972 raised global awareness, prompting India to introduce various Acts like the Wildlife Act 1972, Water Act 1974, and Air Act 1981.
  • The 42nd Amendment in 1976 added provisions for the environment directly under Fundamental Duties (Article 51A) and Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 48A).
  • The Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984 further emphasized the need for environmental protection, leading to the enactment of the Environment Protection Act in 1986.

2. Constitutional Provisions for Environmental Protection:

  • Article 48A: Directive Principle of State Policy, imposes a duty on the State to protect and improve the environment, safeguard forests and wildlife.
  • Article 51A(g): Fundamental Duty of citizens to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, rivers, and wildlife.
  • Article 253: Empowers Parliament to enact laws for implementing international agreements related to the environment.
  • Article 246: Divides legislative subjects between Union and State, with a Concurrent list including environment-related matters.
  • Article 47: Imposes a duty on the State to improve citizens’ standard of living, including environmental protection and health facilities.
  • Article 21: Right to life interpreted to include the right to a safe environment, free from pollution and diseases.
  • Article 19(1)(g): Fundamental right to practice any profession but with reasonable restrictions to protect public health and the environment.
  • Article 32 & 226: Provide the right to approach the Supreme Court and High Court respectively via PILs for environmental protection.

3. Role and Power of Legislature:

  • The Constitution divides legislative powers between the Union, State, and Concurrent lists, empowering both levels of government to legislate on environmental matters.
  • The Seventh Schedule includes environmental protection under the Concurrent list, allowing both Union and State governments to enact laws.


Despite constitutional provisions and legislative measures, India faces significant environmental challenges. Strict implementation of laws, promoting green practices, raising awareness, and educating the public are crucial steps towards effective environmental protection and sustainable development.


International environmental law is a collaborative global effort aimed at promoting sustainable development and addressing environmental crises. It monitors state behavior in areas such as ozone layer protection, natural resource conservation, and ecological balance, encouraging compliance through soft laws that emphasize voluntary adherence to standard norms and principles. Disputes arising under these laws can be resolved through mechanisms like the International Court of Justice, with sources of law including international conventions, customs, general principles, and judicial decisions. Treaties, protocols, customary international law, and judicial precedents are key components shaping the framework of international environmental law, facilitating cooperation among nations to safeguard the environment for future generations.


International conventions and agreements from 1867 to 1945:

  • 1867: Fisheries convention between England and France.
  • 1872: Switzerland proposed an international regulatory commission for the protection of birds, leading to the formation of the International Ornithological Congress in 1884 (also known as the International Ornithologists’ Union).
  • 1902: Convention to Protect Birds Useful to Agriculture, which granted protection to certain birds and prohibited their capturing and killing.
  • 1909: Water boundaries treaty between the US and Canada, focusing on preventing and controlling water pollution.
  • 1922: International Committee for the Preservation of Birds involving the US and European countries, establishing transboundary coordination without compromising national sovereignty.
  • 1933: Convention on the Preservation of Flora and Fauna, aimed at conserving Africa’s flora and fauna through National Parks and Reserves, regulating hunting and collection of species, preserving forests, and promoting the domestication of economically important animals.

However, during this period, there were major limitations such as the absence of institutional arrangements for administration and compliance with the provisions of these agreements.

After 1945, the concept of transboundary injuries related to environmental harm gained prominence, leading to several significant conventions and agreements:

  • 1954: International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, addressing marine pollution due to oil spills.
  • 1968: African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, focusing on conservation efforts in Africa.
  • 1970: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) established a committee specifically dedicated to environmental matters.
  • 1971: Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, dealing with liability for damages caused by space activities and objects.

From 1972 onwards, there was a significant transition in international environmental treaties and conventions.

Stockholm Conference (1972)

The Stockholm Conference of 1972 catalyzed key principles and global awareness in international environmental law, shaping national commitments like India’s 1976 constitutional amendments towards environmental preservation.which marked the first International Conference on Human Environment.

Date and Participation

  • Held from June 5th to 16th, 1972, in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Attended by representatives from 107 states.


  • First International Conference on Human Environment, marking a pivotal moment in global environmental consciousness.
  • Declared 26 principles, often called the Magna Carta of international environmental law, despite being non-binding.

Principles of the Stockholm Declaration

  • Addressed issues such as renewable and non-renewable resources, toxic substances, sea pollution, science and technology use, environmental education, demographic policies, international cooperation for transboundary pollution, and nuclear weapons.

Indian Involvement

  • Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Gandhi, was the first head of state to address the conference.
  • The Stockholm Declaration’s principles influenced India’s constitutional amendments for environmental protection.

Impact on Indian Legislation

  • The Stockholm Declaration’s ideals were incorporated into India’s Constitution through the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976.
  • This amendment explicitly outlines directives and fundamental duties related to environmental protection and improvement, reflecting India’s national commitment to a sustainable future.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) – 1973

  • Purpose: Protect endangered species from overexploitation via international trade.
  • Appendices: I (endangered species), II (regulated trade), III (cooperation needed).

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) – 1979

  • Objective: Conserve migratory species and their habitats, ensuring wise utilization.
  • Categories: Appendix I (endangered), Appendix II (conservation agreement needed).

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – 1982

  • Focus: Legal frameworks for marine resource use, pollution prevention, and dispute resolution.
  • Concerns: Land-based, sea-bed, and marine pollution; equitable resource utilization.

World Charter for Nature – 1982

  • Principles: Respect nature, conserve resources, sustainable development, and legal measures.
  • Responsibilities: States for conservation, education, research, and international cooperation.

Nairobi Convention – 1985

  • Aim: Prevent marine environmental degradation, habitat destruction, and promote sustainable coastal development.
  • Provisions: General obligations, pollution control, protected areas, liability, and compensation.

Ramsar Convention – 1971 & 1982

  • Purpose: Conserve wetlands, promote wise use, recognize economic and ecological value.
  • Noteworthy: India’s significant Ramsar sites, emphasis on water regimes and biodiversity.

Brundtland Commission (1983) – Our Common Future

  • Chair: Gro Harlem Brundtland
  • Objective: Formulate sustainable development proposals for global challenges.
  • Emphasis: Sustainable development, transboundary natural resource management.

Basel Convention (1989)

  • Focus: Control transboundary movement of hazardous wastes.
  • Aim: Reduce adverse effects on human health and the environment.

Vienna Convention on Protection of Ozone Layer, 1985 & Montreal Protocol, 1987

  • Purpose: Prevent adverse effects on the ozone layer from human activities.
  • Obligations: States to adopt measures, exchange information, and restrict harmful substances.

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992)


  • Establish a new, equitable global partnership.
  • Foster cooperation among states, societies, and people.


  • Principle 3: Emphasizes sustainable development for present and future generations.
  • Principle 5: Focuses on eradicating poverty through targeted programs.
  • Principle 8: Aims to reduce unsustainable production and consumption patterns, promote demographic policies.
  • Principle 22: Recognizes and protects the knowledge of indigenous peoples.

Agenda 21 (1992)

  • Initiative: Address environmental degradation and promote sustainable development.
  • Components: Socio-economic dimensions, conservation, NGO involvement, implementation measures.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992

  • Objective: Stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations to prevent climate system interference.
  • Provisions: Common but differentiated responsibilities, national policies, public participation.

Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992

1. Objectives

  • Conservation of biological diversity.
  • Sustainable use of biological resources.
  • Fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources.

2. Earth Summit Influence

  • Part of the outcomes from the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
  • Emphasizes the importance of protecting biological diversity for global well-being.

3. Indigenous Rights and Local Knowledge

  • Recognizes and protects cultural rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Emphasizes preserving local knowledge relevant to biodiversity conservation.

International Environmental Law

International environmental law comprises treaties, customary practices, and court rulings aimed at tackling global environmental issues. It emphasizes principles like sustainable development, shared responsibilities, and cooperation among nations. Through organizations like UNEP and legal mechanisms, it strives to protect nature while fostering global harmony and sustainability.

Sources of International Environmental Law

1. Treaties, Protocols, and Conventions

    • Primary source of international environmental law.
    • Examples include the Convention on Biological Diversity, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement ect as provided above in detail.

2. Customary International Law Basis:

Based on longstanding practices and opinions accepted as law between nations.

Elements: Combines State practice (what countries do) and opinio juris (belief that actions are legally obligatory).

Incorporation: Principles from international declarations can become customary law.


  • Polluter Pays Principle: Holding polluters financially responsible.
  • Good Neighborliness: Promoting cooperation and peaceful relations.

3. Judicial Decisions

judicial decisions and their contributions to international environmental law:

Chamber for Environmental Matters: ICJ established a dedicated chamber in July 1993 due to increasing environmental cases.

Customary International Law: Recognizes judicial decisions as sources of international environmental law alongside customary law.

Trail Smelter Arbitration:

  • Issue: Canada’s liability for transboundary harm to American farmers due to sulfur emissions.
  • Principle: Polluter Pays Principle, holding states responsible for preventing and compensating for environmental harm.
  • Outcome: Canada was held liable, setting a precedent for state responsibility in environmental damage cases.

Corfu Channel Case (ICJ’s 1st case):

  • Issue: Responsibility for sea mine explosions damaging British ships passing through Corfu channel.
  • Principle: Freedom of Maritime Communication and State obligation to maintain safe international routes.
  • Outcome: Albania was held responsible for failing to clear sea mines, emphasizing state obligations in maritime safety.

Lake Lanoux Arbitration:

  • Issue: French plans affecting Spanish territory by utilizing waters of Lake Lanoux.
  • Principle: Upstream state’s right to reasonable use of water, sovereignty bending to international obligations.
  • Outcome: Upheld French plans as long as they didn’t alter water flow to Spain significantly, establishing principles of reasonable water use and international obligation precedence.

These cases demonstrate the evolution of international environmental law, highlighting principles like the Polluter Pays Principle, freedom of maritime communication, and the balance between state sovereignty and international obligations in environmental matters.

Important Legislations on Environment protection in india

India has established robust environmental protection through stringent laws focusing on pollution control, wildlife conservation, and forest preservation, reflecting its commitment to sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972:

1. Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 48-A: State’s duty to protect and improve the environment, forests, and wildlife.
  • Article 51-A(g): Fundamental duty of citizens to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife.
  • Article 21: Right to a clean environment.

2. Amendments to the Act:

  • 1982: Introduced provision for scientific management of animal populations.
  • 2002: Made punishments and penalties more stringent.
  • 2006: Established National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

3. Schedules of the Act:

  • Schedule I: Endangered species with absolute protection.
  • Schedule II: High protection species, trade prohibited.
  • Schedules III & IV: Protected species with lesser penalties.
  • Schedule V: Animals that can be hunted (vermin).
  • Schedule VI: Prohibited endemic plants.

4. Salient Features of the Act:

  • Protection of listed species and establishment of protected areas.
  • Formation of wildlife advisory boards and wildlife wardens.
  • Prohibition of hunting endangered species and trade of scheduled animals.
  • Licensing for sale, transfer, and possession of certain wildlife species.
  • Establishment of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and the Central Zoo Authority.
  • Creation of six schedules for varying degrees of protection.
  • Constitution of the National Board for Wildlife and National Tiger Conservation Authority.

5. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):

  • Established in 2007 under the Act.
  • Nodal agency for CITES-related enforcement.
  • Collects intelligence, coordinates enforcement actions, and advises on wildlife crimes.

6. Protected Areas under the Act:

  • Sanctuaries: Areas for injured wildlife, limited human activity allowed.
  • National Parks: Strictly protected areas, no human activity permitted.
  • Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves: Additional protected areas.
  • Tiger Reserves: Reserved areas for tiger conservation.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974:

1. Background and Aim:

  • Enacted to control water pollution from industrial and domestic sources.
  • Aims to prevent and control water pollution, maintain water quality, establish Pollution Control Boards, and set penalties (Introduction).

2. Legislative Structure:

  • Consists of 64 sections in VIII chapters (General Structure).
  • Establishes Central and State Pollution Control Boards, defines their powers (Section 3 and 4), and outlines pollution prevention measures.

3. Constitution of Pollution Control Boards:

  • Section 3: Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
  • Section 4: State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs).
  • Section 13: Allows for the establishment of Joint Boards for pollution control (based on agreements).

4. Functions of Pollution Control Boards:

  • Central Board (Section 16): Advises the Central Government, coordinates with State Boards, collects data, establishes laboratories.
  • State Board (Section 17): Plans pollution control programs, advises state government, sets effluent standards, develops treatment methods.

5. Additional Powers and Functions:

  • Section 19: State Boards can recommend exemptions in certain areas.
  • Section 20: State Boards can appoint personnel for surveys and data collection.
  • Section 33: Boards have power to appeal to courts to restrict actions harming water resources.

6. Penalties and Laboratories:

  • Chapter on penalties (Sections 48-63) describes punishments for contraventions.
  • Sections 51 and 52: Establish Central and State Water Laboratories.
  • Section 58: Bars civil courts from jurisdiction over Act matters, empowering appellate authorities.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,

The act holds significant importance in India’s environmental legislation landscape, aiming to prevent, control, and abate air pollution. Here are the key points regarding the scope, boards established, constitution, functions, powers, and penalties under this Act:

1. Scope of the Act:

  • The Act applies nationwide and defines air pollutants and pollution (Section 2).

2. Boards Established:

  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under Section 3.
  • State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) where the Water Act is in effect (Section 4).

3. Constitution of the Boards:

  • CPCB composition under Section 3(3).
  • SPCBs composition under Section 4(3).

4. Functions of the Boards:

  • CPCB’s functions: national-level planning, coordination, standards setting (Section 16).
  • SPCBs’ functions: local pollution control, inspections, standards setting (Section 17).

5. Powers and Functions:

  • Boards’ powers: issue directions, declare pollution areas, restrict emissions, inspections (Section 18).
  • Penalties for non-compliance: imprisonment, fines, operational restrictions (Section 37).

6. Judicial Pronouncements:

  • Landmark cases likeC. Mehta v. Union of India expanded the scope of environmental protection under Article 21 of the Constitution, leading to practical measures such as the introduction of CNG for vehicular emissions.

7. Challenges and Conclusion:

  • Despite comprehensive legislation, challenges like enforcement, increasing pollution sources, and public awareness persist, necessitating continuous efforts and collaborations for effective pollution control and abatement.

The Environment ProtectionAct, 1986

1. Background:

  • Enacted in response to the Bhopal gas spill, effective from November 19, 1986.
  • Authorized under Article 253 of the Indian Constitution for implementing foreign agreements.
  • Case Reference: “Union Carbide Corporation vs. Union of India” – The Act’s role and implementation post-Bhopal gas tragedy.

2. Objectives:

  • Implement decisions from the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.
  • Create new authorities for environmental protection and impose strict penalties for damage.
  • Encourage sustainable development and fill gaps in existing laws.

3. Salient Features:

  • Empowers the Central Government to prevent and control pollution (Chapter II).
  • Special provisions for hazardous substances and relaxed “Locus Standi” for citizen involvement.
  • Immunity for government officers acting under the Act and precedence over inconsistent enactments.

4. Provisions:

  • Central Government’s authority to conserve and improve environmental quality.
  • Standards for pollutants, emission limits, entry, inspection, sample collection (Chapter III).
  • Establishment of environmental labs and penalties for non-compliance.
  • Case Reference: “M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India” – Interpretation of the Act’s provisions and penalties for environmental violations.

5. Important Chapters and Sections:

  • Chapter II: General powers of the Central Government.
  • Chapter III: Prevention, Control, and Abatement of Environment Pollution.
  • Section 22: Bar of Jurisdiction to protect officials acting in good faith.

The Noise Pollution Control Rules, 2000:

1. Definition (Section 2):

  • Defines key terms like ‘area/zone,’ ‘authority,’ ‘court,’ etc.
  • Specifies ‘night time’ as 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.

2. Ambient Air Quality Standards (Section 3):

  • Sets noise limits for Industrial (75 dB(A) day, 70 dB(A) night), Commercial (65 dB(A) day, 55 dB(A) night), Residential (55 dB(A) day, 45 dB(A) night), and Silence Zones (50 dB(A) day, 40 dB(A) night).

3. Responsibilities and Enforcement (Sections 3 and 4):

  • Requires State Government to categorize areas for noise standards.
  • Empowers authorities (like District Magistrate, Police Commissioner) to enforce controls and collect pollution data.

4. Restrictions on Loudspeakers and Sound Instruments (Sections 5 and 6):

  • Prohibits loudspeaker use without permission (Section 5).
  • Allows limited use during cultural or religious events with conditions (Section 6).

5. Restrictions on Horns, Equipment, and Firecrackers (Section 7):

  • Bans horn use and loud equipment in silence zones or at night.

6. Consequences of Violations (Section 8):

  • Specifies penalties for various offenses in silence zones/areas.

7. Complaints and Prohibitions (Section 9):

  • Enables complaints against noise violations.
  • Empowers authorities to issue orders for prevention or control of noise.

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in India:

  • Importance of biodiversity in sustaining life on Earth.
  • India’s rich biodiversity and the need for protection.

1. Background and Objectives

  • India’s commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Rio de Janeiro.
  • Objectives: conservation, sustainable use, equitable benefit-sharing, prevention of biopiracy.

2.. Enactment and Evolution

  • Enacted in 2002 to address gaps in previous environmental legislations.
  • Formation of the National Biodiversity Authority.
  • Case: Environment Support Group v. National Biodiversity Authority – Highlighting challenges in biopiracy regulation.

3. Key Provisions

  • Conservation strategies and plans by the Central Government (Section 36).
  • Declaration of Biodiversity Heritage Sites (Section 37).
  • Protection of endangered species (Section 38).
  • Case: Akb Jagannath Nag v. Union Of India & Ors – Addressing intellectual property rights and approval processes.

4. Institutional Structure

  • Establishment of the National Biodiversity Authority (Section 8).
  • State Biodiversity Boards and their functions (Section 22).
  • Case: Akb Jagannath Nag v. Union Of India & Ors – Role of state boards in biodiversity regulation.

5. Functions and Responsibilities

  • Prohibition of unauthorized patents on biodiversity (Section 6).
  • Benefit-sharing mechanisms (Section 21).
  • Offences and penalties for biodiversity-related activities (Section 58).
  • Case: Environment Support Group v. National Biodiversity Authority – Legal actions against biopiracy.

6. Shortcomings and Challenges

  • Emphasis on profit-sharing over conservation.
  • Lack of guidelines for integrating communities and assessing contributions.
  • Case: Environment Support Group v. National Biodiversity Authority – Critiques on the Act’s limitations and scope.


  • Environment Support Group v. National Biodiversity Authority: Addressed issues related to Section 40 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, concerning arbitrary trade of India’s biological wealth.
  • Akb Jagannath Nag v. Union Of India & Ors: Dealt with intellectual property rights under Sections 6 and 19(2) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and related rules.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) 2010

It is a quasi-judicial body established to address environmental issues and ensure the protection and conservation of forests and natural resources. Here’s a summary of the key points regarding NGT based on the information you provided:

1. Establishment and Composition:

  • Established by the NGT Act, 2010.
  • Section 3: Composition includes a Chairperson, Judicial Members, and Expert Members.
  • Case Reference: “Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Limited vs. Union of India” – Supreme Court’s interpretation of NGT’s composition and jurisdiction.

2. Membership:

  • Chairperson can be a Supreme Court judge or High Court Chief Justice (NGT Act, Section 5).
  • Judicial Members are present or retired High Court judges (NGT Act, Section 6).
  • Expert Members have specific environmental qualifications (NGT Act, Section 7).

3. Term and Removal:

  • Members serve a five-year term (NGT Act, Section 8).
  • Grounds for removal include insolvency, conviction, incapacity, financial conflicts, or abuse of position (NGT Act, Section 9).

4. Jurisdiction and Powers:

  • Geographical jurisdiction and civil court powers, not bound by CPC (NGT Act, Section 14).
  • Case Reference: “Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs. Union of India” – NGT’s powers and jurisdiction in environmental matters.

5. Dispute Settlement:

  • Settles substantial environmental disputes within six months, extendable with cause (NGT Act, Section 16).
  • Provides relief, compensation, and restitution for environmental violations.

6. Appellate Jurisdiction:

  • Appellate jurisdiction; appeals within 30 days, extendable (NGT Act, Section 22).
  • Open locus standi for any aggrieved person or organization (NGT Act, Section 14).

7. Penalties and Bar of Jurisdiction:

  • Non-compliance penalties include imprisonment, fines (NGT Act, Section 26).
  • Civil courts lack jurisdiction over NGT’s appellate matters (NGT Act, Section 29).

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006:

The Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 protects the rights of forest-dwelling tribal groups and other traditional forest dwellers.

  1. Background: Enacted to address historical injustices and recognize the symbiotic relationship with forests.
  1. Aim of the Act (Section 3):
  • To safeguard land tenure, livelihood, and food security of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) (Section 3).
  • To enhance forest conservation through sustainable use and biodiversity protection.
  1. Forest Rights (Sections 3, 4, 5, 6):
  • Individual Forest Rights (IFR) and Community Forest Rights (CFR) recognized (Sections 3, 4).
  • Right to hold and live in forest land, access minor forest produce, and protect natural resources (Sections 5, 6).
  1. Eligibility Criteria (Section 2(c)):
  • Scheduled Tribes members or communities reliant on forests for livelihood.
  • Communities residing on forest land for at least three generations before December 13, 2005 (Section 2(c)).
  1. Process (Sections 6, 7, 8):
  • Gram Sabha initiates the process for IFR and CFR (Sections 6, 7).
  • Screening committees review suggestions and appeals (Section 8).
  • Recognized land cannot be sold or transferred.
  1. Challenges in Implementation:
  • Non-compliance, unlawful encroachments, and political interference.
  • Lack of technical expertise and tedious documentation process.
  1. Case Laws:
  • Wildlife First and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. (2007): Upheld the constitutional validity of FRA and emphasized tribal rights.
  • Orissa Mining Corporation v. Ministry of Environment and Forest and Others (2013): Stressed the need for sustainable development and environmental protection in forest areas.
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