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Permission To Extract Ground Water Must Record Reasons by Ground Water Board Under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986: Sikkim High Court

Shrutika Pandey
1 Aug 2021 8:22 AM GMT
Permission To Extract Ground Water Must Record Reasons by Ground Water Board Under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986: Sikkim High Court
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The High Court of Sikkim observed that permission to extract groundwater granted to the industries in the State must record satisfaction and assign reasons by Central Ground Water Board as per Section 3(2) and Section (5) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai expressed surprise on grant of...

The High Court of Sikkim observed that permission to extract groundwater granted to the industries in the State must record satisfaction and assign reasons by Central Ground Water Board as per Section 3(2) and Section (5) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai expressed surprise on grant of permission while a PIL is pending, noting that the Board is a creature of the statute is bound by its provisions.

Taking serious note on non-compliance the Court noted,

"Nothing has been suggested to show true compliance in spirit by them or their Officers. It is also the concern of the Court that the extraction of that water how far is permissible and what was the step of the Authorities to check the same and also of compliance of the condition of the no objection."

It also directed that all permissions will be subjected to this order of the Court, and any violation be accordingly held responsible.

"It appears that the Central Ground Water Board and its Authorities have not specified reason for granting no objection for extracting the ground water and without such reason conditional permissions were granted. The conditions so stipulated in those permissions have been complied or not it is not on record, however, we cannot appreciate such functioning of the Authority."

Deciding on a pivotal issue regarding extraction of the groundwater despite the availability of sufficient surface water, it sought an explanation from the Central Ground Water Board as to why permission has been granted to 22 companies to extract groundwater despite sufficient surface water.

It further noted that the permission granted to these companies was conditional, and there is no proof of compliance; nevertheless, the Regional Authorities have recorded its satisfaction. It notes,

"It is also not on record that the condition as specified has been truly implemented and who is the Authority verifying those facts and whether they have checked by spot verification."

Title: In Re- Discharge of Effluents By Pharma Companies Situated At Singtam

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