EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Has the redressal mechanism for air pollution-related cases in India evolved since the inception of the National Green Tribunal?

Abinaya Sekar1, Muhammed Siddik Abdul Samad2, and George K Varghese3
Abinaya Sekar et al.
  • 1Centre for Policy Research , Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment, India (
  • 2TKM College of Engineering, Kerala, India (
  • 3National Institute of Technology Calicut, Kerala, India (

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was established in accordance with the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. NGT is the specialized judicial body, consisting of technical members and judicial members, constituted for adjudicating environmental cases and reducing the burden of litigation in other courts in the country. In matters involving air pollution, anyone seeking relief or compensation for environmental damage concerning issues included in the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 may approach the tribunal. Before the establishment of the NGT, the country’s apex court played a vital role in delivering land-mark decisions concerning air pollution. The objective of the current study is to assess if the involvement of technical experts in the tribunal has improved the redressal mechanism. The judgments were reviewed in SCC online’s case finder and NGT official portal. The methodology involved analyzing cases decided by the NGT for five indicators that signal the use of technical expertise in decision-making. These indicators are (i) scientific/ technical content of the ratio decidendi, (ii) technical investigation of the case directly by NGT, including site visits by its technical experts, (iii) Assessment of technical reports directly by NGT, without the help of external experts (iv) insistence by NGT on studies using latest techniques as part of the investigation (v) Evaluating reversal of NGT verdict following the Supreme Court appeal on technical grounds. In general, this study assesses the role of the scientific experts as decision-makers in the environmental redress process. Reported cases, supported by existing literature show that scientific experts had a significant policy impact, which is crucial in air quality management. A guideline document, similar to the Environmental crime investigation manual of INTERPOL can improve the situation further by helping the investigator choose the suitable approach for a given scenario. 


How to cite: Sekar, A., Samad, M. S. A., and Varghese, G. K.: Has the redressal mechanism for air pollution-related cases in India evolved since the inception of the National Green Tribunal?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11184,, 2023.