Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: Parliament has approved the setting up of specialised “green benches'' with the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday approving the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Bill to quickly dispose of environmental protection cases. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill last month.

The Tribunal, with its headquarters at Bhopal and five benches in the rest of the country, will be headed by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge or the Chief Justice of a High Court, and will immediately take up 5,600 cases pending in different courts.

“Anybody can approach the National Green Tribunal. It can be any individual, media organisation or NGO. We are not choking the access,'' Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said while replying to the debate.

Compensation can be claimed in case of death, disability, damage to property and loss of business or employment, he added.

Though no limit has been fixed for the compensation, the tribunal may provide relief and compensation to the victims as it may think fit.