Nupur Chowdhury and Nidhi Srivastava
Can a tribunal deliver justice? By posing this rhetorical question this article attempts to contextualize the introduction of the tribunal system of adjudication in India. Some of these tribunals have been able to evolve into mechanisms that have overcome their birth infirmities. The Supreme Court has intervened and supported strengthening of these tribunals and their evolution into entities (if not fully but certainly) more independent of the executive. This article explores these questions through a case study of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)—specifically focusing on the subject of jurisdiction. NGT is the newest of the tribunals that have been established since the Constitutional amendment was passed allowing for them. The jurisdiction of the NGT, although statutorily limited, has evolved in the light of Supreme Court's jurisprudence on the powers of tribunals. Further, the nature of environmental disputes are such that the NGT has had to expansively interpret both procedural mechanisms, such as limitation periods for allowing more disputes to be brought to the bench, and by entering into substantive areas such as climate change.