Section 28 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

provides for an appeal against an order made by the State Board. The appellate authority is to be prescribed and constituted by the State Government. As per Sub-section (2) of Section 28, the appellate authority is to consist of a single person or three persons. Section 29 confers revisional jurisdiction of the State Government. It can be exercised suo motu or on an application made to it by the aggrieved party. Section 33-B has been added by amendment. It provides for an appeal to the National Green Tribunal against the appellate adjudication or revisional adjudication or directions issued under Section 33-A.

This section has been added w.e.f. 18.10.2010.

9.

Section 13 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977

prescribes an appeal by any person or local authority against an order of assessment to such authority as may be prescribed by the Rules made under the said Act. Section 13-A has been added w.e.f. 18.10.2010, and it allows further appeal to the National Green Tribunal.

10. The

Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

vide its Section 2-A, provides for an appeal to the National Green Tribunal against an order, or a decision of the State Government or other authority made under Section 2 of that Act. This Section 2-A has been added w.e.f. 18.10.2010.

11. The

Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

vide its Section 31, provides for an appeal against an order of the State Board to the appellate authority, as the State Government may constitute. Section 31-A enables the Board to issue certain directions. Section 31-B allows further challenge to the adjudication by the appellate authority before the National Green Tribunal. This Section has been added w.e.f. 18.10.2010.

12. The

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

vide its Section 5-A, provides for an appeal to the National Green Tribunal against directions issued under Section 5 of the said act. This Section 5-A has been added w.e.f. 18.10.2010.

13. The

Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

enables Collectors to award relief under Section 7.Section 13, enables the Central Government or the person authorized by it to move an application to the Courts for restraining owner from handling hazardous substances. Section 12, confers powers on the Central Government to issue such directions, in writing, as it may deem fit for the purposes of the said Act. This enactment does not provide for any remedy before the National Green Tribunal.

14. The B.D. Act with which we are concerned in the present matter, vide its Section 50, provides procedure for settlement of disputes between the State Biodiversity Boards and the National Biodiversity Authority. An appeal can be filed to the Central Government if a dispute is between the State Biodiversity Boards, the Central Government shall refer the same to the National Biodiversity Authority.

Section 52, enables aggrieved persons to challenge determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board by filing an appeal to the High Court. However, this provision subsisted, under Section 52A, on 18.10.2010. Since then, by virtue of Section 52A, an appeal against such determination or an order is to be filed before the National Green Tribunal.

15. The provisions of Sections 14, 16, and 18 of the N.G.T. Act need to be construed in this background.

16. Section 14 of the N.G.T. Act, empowers the Tribunal to settle disputes. All civil cases specified in sub-section [1] thereof are amenable to its jurisdiction and sub-section [2] specifically provides for all disputes arising from questions referred to in sub-section [1] are to be heard and settled by it. An application for adjudication of such disputes cannot be entertained by the Tribunal, if it is made beyond a period of six months from the date of cause of action. It has been given power to condone delay of period not exceeding 60 days.Section 15 points out relief, compensation and restitution which Tribunal is empowered to grant under Section 15[3]. Application for grant of any compensation or relief or restitution of property or environment under Section 15, cannot be entertained by the Tribunal, if it is not made within a period of 5 years from the date on which cause therefor first arose. Again it has been given power to condone delay for a period not exceeding 60 days. Under Section 16 Appellate jurisdiction of National Green Tribunal has been specified. It can entertain an appeal filed by a person aggrieved against 10 orders as specified therein, which include enactments mentioned in Schedule-I of the N.G.T. Act. Appeal is required to be filed by the aggrieved person within a period of 30 days, and the Tribunal can condone delay of a period not exceeding 60 days.

Under Section 17, if death or injury to any person (other than a workman) or damage to any property or environment has resulted from an accident or adverse impact of any activity or operation or process, under any enactment specified in Schedule-I, the person responsible for it has to give such relief or pay compensation, as specified in Section 17[1]. Section 18 deals with the procedure for filing an application or appeal to the Tribunal.

17. Section 18 of the N.G.T. Act specifies that an application under Sections 14 and 15 or an appeal under Section 16 thereof has to be made in such a form or has to contain such particulars and should be accompanied by such document and such fees, as may be prescribed by Rules framed under the said Act. Sub-section [2] of Section 18 provides for an application for grant of relief of compensation or settlement of dispute to be made by a person stipulated therein. As per sub-section [3]. such application or appeal is to be decided expeditiously by the Tribunal and effort is to be made to adjudicate it finally within 6 months.

Section 19 specifies that the Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down by Civil Procedure Code, but, is guided by the principles of natural justice. Proceedings before the Tribunal are deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Section 193, 219 and 228 for the purpose of Section 196 of Indian Penal Code. Tribunal is deemed to be a Civil Court for the purpose of Section 195 and Chapter XXVI of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Section 20 obliges the Tribunal to apply principles of sustainable development, precautionary principle and polluter pays principle, while adjudicating the proceedings before it. Section 21requires it to take decision by majority. Section 22 provides for an appeal to Supreme Court.

18. Discussion above therefore, shows that appellate jurisdiction is conferred upon National Green Tribunal under various enactments as stipulated in Section 16, read with Schedule-I of the N.G.T. Act, and against certain other orders as stipulated therein. But, then it is apparent that the appellate jurisdiction is distinct from the jurisdiction under Section 14 andSection 15 thereof. This is also seen in a judgment delivered by the Division Bench of this Court reported at