A student of the School of Excellence in Law has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking to declare the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act 2010 as unconstitutional.

In his public interest litigation petition, M. Naveen Kumar, studying B.A., B.L. (Hons) course here, said that the Act received Presidential assent on June 2 this year. The legislation provided for constitution of the Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources and giving relief and compensation for damage. By virtue of this law, the National Environmental Tribunal Act and the National Environment Appellate Authority Act were repealed. The cases pending before the two forums stood transferred to the NGT. The petitioner said in cases where substantial questions relating to environment was involved, the High Courts were exercising their writ jurisdiction to provide remedy to the affected people. The blanket ban imposed under the new Act on the jurisdiction of civil courts expressly and the High Courts impliedly would be impermissible in law. Right to judicial review before the High Court had been recognised as part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

The constitution of NGT and by excluding all environmental matters from the jurisdiction of the High Court and Civil Courts would severely affect the right of access to justice to the poor and the needy. Also, the Act provided for constitution of the tribunal at the national level and circuit benches. The court has ordered notice on the petition.