ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN INDIA - THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL.

Author:Rackemann, Michael
Position:Book review
 
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Gitanjali Nain Gill, Environmental Justice in India--The National Green Tribunal (1st ed. 2017), Routledge; ISBN: 9781138921108 (hbk); 238 pp. (hardcover).

Since the 1990s, there has been a global explosion in environmental law. It has blossomed in scope, content, reach, status, and significance. An even more recent phenomenon is the creation and proliferation of specialist environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs). This reflects a growing appreciation of the particular nature and character of environmental disputes and the special challenges and opportunities they present to those seeking to achieve efficient, effective, and beneficial dispute resolution.

Although longstanding specialist ECTs can be found in some countries, including Australia, (1) the vast majority of ECTs are of more recent origin. Indeed, most have been created in the last decade. This phenomenon has been the subject of renowned, valuable, and indeed ground-breaking work by Professor George (Rock) Pring and his wife Catherine (Kitty) Pring, who have undertaken comparative studies of ECTs in order to provide guidance for those looking to create or to improve them. (2) Otherwise, however, the academic community is still playing "catch-up" in producing a body of literature about ECTs, particularly when it comes to detailed and robust examinations of particular ECTs.

Against this background, the recent publication of Environmental Justice in India--the National Green Tribunal by Dr. Gill is a welcome and timely development. It offers an in-depth analysis of the National Green Tribunal of India (NGT), a recently formed ECT, with a broad jurisdiction and a reputation for an activist approach. It operates in the challenging context of a populous and rapidly developing emerging economic powerhouse, where the inevitable tensions in balancing ecological, economic, and social considerations in the pursuit of ecological sustainability are profound. This is fertile ground for analysis, discussion, and debate. Dr. Gill has produced a valuable piece of work which responds to the challenges and opportunities of its subject matter.

The book reflects the author's extensive and meticulous field research. Dr. Gill has not contented herself with simply examining what the NGT is and what it does. She has studied the constitution, jurisdiction and processes of the NGT, the composition of its caseload, the nature(s) of the parties before it, the remedies it provides, and the jurisprudence emerging from its published decisions. She has also descended into the processes and procedures of the NGT to discover both the way it goes about its work and why. Her field studies for it include interviews with both legal and technical expert members of the NGT. Delving deeply into her subject in order to obtain an intimate understanding of the history, work, and ethos of the NGT, Dr. Gill conveys that...

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