The Delhi High Court has extended the period for giving suggestions to the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2020 till August 11.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) proposed a new draft notification of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) on March 12, 2020, after which a series of nationwide digital protests have been going on backed by student unions, environmentalists, and other stakeholders, condemning the stance of the government on environmental sustainability.
The new plan aims to approve ‘post facto clearance’ of an enterprise running suo moto(without prior clearance), therefore violating this principle of natural justice. The government is seen eager to incorporate the ‘polluter pays principle’ to monetize the environmental damage caused due to such cases.
Environment Ministry did not address the court's query regarding "ambiguity": Delhi High Court
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan passed the order after the Environment Ministry did not address the court's query regarding "ambiguity" in its decision extending time till June 30 for giving objections and suggestions to its draft EIA 2020.
Referring to the reply filed by the Environment Ministry, the bench said, "There is not a word (in the affidavit) on the ambiguity. Your reply is silent on the main point. We are, frankly, a little surprised at the obstinacy of the central government. The government is being obdurate in this matter".
The bench also observed that "absolutely no effort has been made to address the court's query on ambiguity. Your reply is conspicuously silent about it. It amounts to not answering our query."
The court further said that it was not pleased with "this attitude" of the government and added that process of public consultation was "not an obstacle".