Regulatory Bodies

Mains Marks Booster     29th July 2023        
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Introduction:

  • A regulatory body is an entity of the government tasked with acting independently and in the capacity of a supervisor over a certain area of human activity. This process includes setting expectations for behaviour, imposing norms, conditions, and restrictions, as well as enforcing them or obtaining compliance. Ex. PFRDA, RBI, SEBI etc.

Quasi-judicial Bodies

Introduction:

  • Quasi-judicial bodies in India are entities that have powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or judge, and they are able to remedy a matter or impose legal penalties. They are non-judicial bodies that can interpret the law.
  • These bodies have the authority to make judgments on certain types of matters. While they are not courts or part of the traditional judicial structure, their powers and decision-making processes are similar to those of a court. These bodies can make binding rulings and decisions, although they do not possess the full authority and jurisdiction of a court.

Quasi-Judicial bodies: Ex. NGT, CIC etc.

National Green Tribunal

Introduction:

The National Green Tribunal has been established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests.

  • The Supreme Court has declared the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) position as a “unique” forumendowed with Suo motu powers to take up environmental issues across the country.

Appointment:

  • The Central Government, in conjunction with the Chief Justice of India, shall appoint the Tribunal's Chairperson, Judicial Members, and Expert Members.

Composition: Refer diagram ????

Composition

Term: All of the members of the National Green Tribunal shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which they enter their office.

Roles of NGT:

  • Vital role: The Tribunal has to perform equally vital roles that were preventative, ameliorative or remedial in nature.
  • Justice: The functional capacity of the NGT was intended to leverage wide powers to do full justice in its environmental mandate.
  • The Supreme court described the NGT “as a complimentary, competent, specialised forum to deal with all environmental multidisciplinary issues both as original and also as an appellate authority.
  • Not binding: The Code of Civil Procedure of 1908 does not bind the Tribunal; instead, it will be guided by the notions of "natural justice."
  • Wider Reach: Because the tribunal, unlike the Supreme Court, might have benches in many States, expanding access for all residents, the quality of time spent discussing these matters could also be improved.
  • The NGT deals with civil cases under the seven laws include: 

Background:

    • A.P. Pollution Control Board vs Prof.M.V. Nayudu: The Environmental Court appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court stressed the necessity for a court that was "a combination of a Judge and Technical Experts" in the precedent-setting decision.
  • Establishment of NGT: NGT established in 2010 under national green tribunal Act, for disposal of cases related to the environment.

Important judgments of NGT:

NGT

  • The NGT stopped the approval awarded to POSCO, a South Korean steel manufacturer, to build a 12-million-ton steel facility in Odisha in 2012.
  • The NGT invalidated an EIA 2006 notification amendment from December 2016 because it was seen to be a "ploy" (by the government) to get around the regulations. 
  • The amendments essentially intended to give local authorities the authority to award environmental clearance to builders.
  • Numerous illegally granted projects, including the Aranmula Airport in Kerala, the Lower Demwe Hydro Power Project, Nyamnjangu in Arunachal Pradesh, mining projects in Goa, and coal mining projects in Chhattisgarh, were either revoked or given new assessments.

Issues or challenges:

  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 have been kept out of the jurisdiction of NGT.
  • The decisions which are taken by NGT can be challenged in high courts meaning of giving the high court more power than NGT.
  • Absence of formula-based mechanism
  • One of the appeals challenged the forest clearance on the ground that the impact of the diversion of 130.75 square kilometers of pristine tropical rainforests on biodiversity and tribals has not been considered.
  • The eastern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered a stay on the ?72,000 crores Great Nicobar Island project and constituted a committee to revisit the environmental clearance.

Way Forward:

  • By serving the orders and seeking responses by email only saves time and enables the Tribunal to take decisions in a time-bound manner.
  • 'Factual and action were taken' reports are issued to identified statutory authorities 
  • Need for more autonomy and widen NGT’s scope. A formula-based mechanism should be adopted
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