The Ministry of Environment & Forests has said the National Green Tribunal cannot settle the issue or any application on climate change as it is a subject of international conventions and protocols.
The MoEF has in a short affidavit filed in response to an application on climate change said, “The issue of climate change is the subject of international conventions and protocols and does not lie in the ambit of Section 14 of the National Green Tribunal Act.”
Section 14 of the NGT Act deals with the jurisdiction and powers of the Tribunal to settle disputes. It grants the Tribunal the jurisdiction over all civil cases where a substantial question relating to environment is involved. Such questions arise out of implementation of enactments specified in Schedule 1 of the Act.
The seven enactments specified in Schedule 1 to the NGT Act are – The Water Act, The Water Cess Act, The Forest (Conservation) Act, The Air (Preventon and Control of Pollution Act) and The Environment Protection Act.
It also lists The Public Liability Insurance Act and The Biological Diversity Act.
The MoEF has filed the affidavit on an application filed by environmentalist and advocate Gaurav Bansal late last year seeking record of steps taken by the Centre and all the States towards implementing National Action Plan on Climate Change.
The NGT had then directed the Centre, States and all the Union Territories to show what they have done in this regard. In response, the government submitted that “India is a signatory to the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change...”
“Accordingly, any statutory obligation on MoEF regarding the issue of climate change does not arise out of the enactments listed under Schedule 1 of the NGT Act,” it said in the affidavit.
It further submitted that the progress of the national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change is being reviewed by the executive committee on climate change under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.