Opinions on the extent and scope of the National Environment Tribunal Bill (netb), 1995, were sharply divided at the recently concluded workshop organised by the Centre for Environmental Law, World Wide Fund for Nature-India, at New Delhi. While acknowledging the importance of the netb's provision for an alternate forum for settlement claims in cases of environmental accident, participants at the workshop expressed their reservations about its effectiveness as well.
Experts and jurists claimed that the netb's powers and scope were limited and that it was a poor substitute for civil courts. The nomenclature "National Environment Tribunal Bill" also came in for some flak. Most felt that since it was more a "compensation payment body", it should not make claims to cover all environmental damage, which encompasses a much wider area.
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