In June 1993, at the National Conference on 'Human Rights, Environment and the Law', 400 lawyers, judges, human rights activists and non-governmental organisations met to share their experiences. Disillusioned with the apathy of the judiciary towards human rights and the environment they resolved to campaign for changes in the system and to evolve a means to make the judiciary and executive more accountable to the people they are meant to serve.
The Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights (IPT) was formed on June 5, 1993 to conduct fair and credible investigations focusing on issues concerning human rights and environmental justice.
Positioned as an alternative People's Court that gives voice to the struggles of grass-roots organizations and affected communities, IPT conducts investigations on issues concerning human rights and environmental justice.
IPT works through a large network of over 500 judges, lawyers, human rights activists and NGOs. IPT helps movements bring their local issues to the national and international platform. In its nature and structure IPT endeavors to strengthen the processes of local governance, democracy and helps to highlight human rights and environmental violations by both state and private parties with the goal of seeking redressal and changing policy.
IPT completed 10 years of work in June 2003. Through the hearings conducted so far it has gained acceptance and continues to advocate for a change in the attitudes of the judiciary and government officials in responding to the grievances of socio-economically disadvantaged communities through greater transparency and accountability.