Lok Sabha debates Green Tribunal bill
Communist Party of India (Marxist), (CPI-M), on Wednesday slammed a bill that seeks to set up a Green Tribunal for disposal of ecology-related cases and conservation of forest, saying the proposed legislation could be misused.
Participating in a discussion on the National Green Tribunals Bill, 2009 in the Lok Sabha, M B Rajesh (CPI-M) said the measure cannot be used to protect common people.
Fearing that the proposed law could be misused by the Union Government, he demanded a separate bench for each state.
Intervening in the discussion, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh said, "I will remove all objectionable clauses or sections in the proposed law and keep the window of discussion open."
Kalikesh Narayan Sigh Deo of Biju Janata Dal said that the bill fell short on many counts. "Access to the tribunal is severely restricted," he said.
Deo said that the time limit for approaching the tribunal should be increased and higher compensation paid to victims.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (Trinamool Congress) said the bill should seek to draw a balance between tribals' forest rights and development needs.
T K S Elangovan (Congress) said the number of members in the tribunal should be odd to ensure that a decision is taken by majority thereby avoiding the need to go in for an appeal.
Vijay Bahadur Singh from the Bahujan Samaj Party said the clause regarding experience required by a person to become a member of the tribunal was very vague.
S Semmalai from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said a section in the bill was silent about the qualification of members of the selection committee, while Jayant Chowdhary of Rashtriya Lok Dal expressed certain reservations.
The bill, tabled in the House in August, 2009, seeks to set up a National Green Tribunal with powers of a civil court for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, and conservation of forests and natural resources.
It ensures enforcement of any legal right relating to environment, relief and compensation to persons for environmental damages.
The Tribunal shall consist of a full-time chairperson, full-time judicial members and a number of experts.