India Launches Environment Court

Following Australia and New Zealand, India is now the third country to create a tribunal of this kind. The initiative, which aims to bring more financial liability upon polluters, will also take the strain off the backlogged court system.

The tribunal will hear cases across the country related to and arising out of ecological issues, and will be made up of 20 members who are environmental science experts. A network of civil courts, it has the power to order “compensation and restitution of damage caused from actions of environmental negligence” according to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests. In a statement, the ministry said it is the first body of its kind in India “to apply the ‘polluter pays’ principle and the principle of sustainable development.”

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh commented: “Anybody and everybody can approach the tribunal to claim civil damages arising out of inadequate implementation of environment laws.”

The ministry is intending to organise workshops in rural areas to teach people about procedures related to the National Green Tribunal and how to access it.