2 Jun 2023 7:23 AM GMT
Update : Supreme Court Vacates Madras HC's Stay On JPC Notice On Forest Bill After Assurance To Publish Tamil Version Of BillThe Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has ordered an interim stay on the press communique issued by the Joint Committee on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 which had invited suggestions from the public in general and NGOs / experts / stakeholders...
Update : Supreme Court Vacates Madras HC's Stay On JPC Notice On Forest Bill After Assurance To Publish Tamil Version Of Bill
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has ordered an interim stay on the press communique issued by the Joint Committee on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 which had invited suggestions from the public in general and NGOs / experts / stakeholders and institutions in particular about the bill.
The bench of Justice MS Ramesh and Justice PT Asha agreed with the submissions of Theeran Thirumurugan, who has filed a public interest litigation seeking direction for translating the bill in Tamil and for accepting suggestions in Tamil language.
The court, though appreciated the endeavour of calling for suggestions, also noted that the object would be defeated if bill or the press communique does not reach the sections of the public who were unaware of English or Hindi.
"While the endeavour of the respondents in calling for suggestions from the public is laudable, the same could rendered futile if the notification seeking for suggestions does not reach to such sections of the public, who are not familiar with either the English or the Hindi languages. Thus if the Amendment Bill or the Press Communique are not made available in the vernacular languages other than English and Hindi, the object behind calling for suggestions from the public could be defeated," the court said.
The court added that though it does not want to stall an important amendment bill, it was necessary to put it on hold to explore the possibility of publishing translated copies of the Amendment Bill as well as Press Communique in all the vernacular languages of the Country.
"The petitioner has sought for extension of time limit for rendering suggestions as called for the Press Communique. We are of the view that the object behind calling for suggestions would be well met if the Bill is translated and published in the website and suggestions be called in all the vernacular languages and therefore, we deem it fit to stay all further happenings pursuant to the Press Communique for the present," the court said.
The court also noted that even previously, when the Central Government had issued a draft notification for imposing certain restrictions and prohibition on the projects entailing capacity addition under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, suggestions had been called for in English and Hindi languages alone. This had then prompted the Delhi High Court to call for its translation by the Government. The Delhi HC had also directed for uploading the translated copies on the website of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as well as on the website of the Environment Ministries of all States.
The court noted that even after the Delhi HC order, the same Ministry has called for suggestions/objections in English and Hindi only.
Case Title: Theeran Thirumurugan v. Union of India and others
Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Mad) 158
Case No: WP(MD) No.12360 of 2023