Fast order

The Madras high court seeks to evolve a mechanism for the quick settlement of environmental disputes

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2001

the Madras high court has constituted an advisory board under the guidance of us -Asia Environmental Partnership ( usaep ) to help its green bench evolve an alternative dispute resolution ( adr ) mechanism for environmental disputes. The us -based National Institute of Conflict Management ( nicm ) will assist the board in developing the adr mechanism.

" nicm has implemented the concept of adr in the us with a success rate of 80 per cent," said S Subramanian, director (southern region) of usaep. The decision to set up the board was taken in the course of two workshops held earlier this year. Following this, the board, which has five members, was constituted in May 2001. B Shanthakumar, a council for tnpcb, claimed that this is for the first time in India that such a committee had been formed. W hether it will come under the jurisdiction of the state or the Union government is yet to be decided, stated Vijay Narayan, a board member. The mechanism will be used by mediators, who will be trained by the board with the help of usaep. " Any environmentalist or lawyer is qualified to be trained as a mediator," said Shanthakumar. The high court will refer lawsuits directly to the mediators.

According to the officials, the main aim behind developing the mechanism is to prevent the clogging of the judicial system by informally brining together all the stakeholders to sort out their differences. "The adr mechanism is being set up as many cases are pending before the green bench. It will give an impetus to the resolution of environmental disputes," Narayan said . The adr mechanism will be evolved within two years and cost about us $354,000. The us Council of State Governments and the University of Kentucky will share the cost. The Indian partner of the project is the Industrial Consultancy of Tamil Nadu.

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