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Draft EIA: Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Moved By Centre To Review Court's Order Directing Extension of Deadline For Public Comments

Karan Tripathi
4 Sep 2020 8:44 AM GMT
Draft EIA: Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Moved By Centre To Review Courts Order Directing Extension of Deadline For Public Comments
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Delhi High Court has issued notice in a review petition filed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change against the order passed by the court on June 30 whereby the Ministry was directed to extend the deadline for seeking public comments on the Draft Environment Impact Assessment Policy 2020. The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan...

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Delhi High Court has issued notice in a review petition filed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change against the order passed by the court on June 30 whereby the Ministry was directed to extend the deadline for seeking public comments on the Draft Environment Impact Assessment Policy 2020.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has issued notice to the original Petitioner of the present writ petition - Vikrant Tongad.

By its order dated June 30, the present court had extended the deadline for submitting public comments on Draft EIA Policy by August 11.

The court had also directed the Environment Ministry to translate the draft policy in at least the languages mentioned in the VII Schedule of the Constitution, and make the same available on the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, as well as the respective Environment Ministries and State Pollution Control Boards of all respective states within a period of ten days.

The said order reads as:

'...we are of the view that it would be in aid of effective dissemination of the proposed notification if arrangements are made for its translation into other languages as well, at least those mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. Such translation may be undertaken by the Government of India itself, or with the assistance of the respective State Governments, where applicable.'

Today, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, who appeared for the Ministry argued that the court was 'misled' by the Petitioner in passing the said order.

'The Ministry had already published the Draft Policy as well as the notification in all the official languages as per the Official Languages Act', ASG argued.

On Monday, the court had issued notice in the modification plea moved by the Petitioner pertaining to the same disposed off matter.

In his modification plea, the Petitioner has highlighted the following facts:

  1. No translations were completed and uploaded within 10 days. This was a clear transgression of the Court's directive.
  2. The MoEF in fact communicated to the State Governments to carry out the translations within 10 days, but not to take further steps (uploading) until specific directions were given by the MoEF
  3. The draft EIA Notification 2020 was only made available on the homepage of the main website of the MoEF (http://moef.gov.in/) as recently as 24th August, 2020.
  4. Further, the Respondent has even failed to upload the draft EIA Notification, 2020 in the English and Hindi language on the websites of the State Environment Departments and State Pollution Control Boards

It was further argued by the original Petitioner Mr Tongad that as per the RTI reply received from the concerned Ministry, the draft policy has only been translated in 3 languages as on 30th July 2020, namely Marathi, Oriya and Nepali. Moreover, the Petitioner got to know that it is only recently that the translations have been made in Bengali, Telugu and Konkani.

The court will hear both the petitions on September 23.

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