The Draft EIA Notification 2020 does not provide for ex post facto clearance to violation cases, the Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change stated in Lok Sabha today.
Minister of State Babulal Suproyo was responding to the query made by MP Hibi Eden in this regard. He asked whether there is any provision for post facto clearance in the EIA 2020 draft notification. He also asked whether the Supreme Court has observed that Post-facto Environment Clearance is violative of the fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence.
"Clause 22 (14) of the draft EIA Notification 2020 clearly specifies that the project proponent is liable for action under Section 19 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 for the violations committed by it. In addition, the draft notification also lays down additional liability on the project proponent for causing damage to the environment through assessment of environment damage caused, remedial plans and community augmentation plan (reference clause 22(5) of the draft notification)", the minister stated.
"The Hon'ble High Court of Madras, in W.M.P.No.3361 and 3362 of 2018 in the matter of Appaswamy Real Estates Ltd. and ors vs. Puducherry Environment Protection Association vide order dated 14.03.2018 extended the time window of the notification dated 14.03.2017 up to 13.04.2018. Since then, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has enunciated the Principles of 'Polluter Pays' and 'Proportionality' in various decisions viz. Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action Versus Union of India (the Bichhri village industrial pollution case) (1996  SCC 212); and Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Versus Rohit Prajapati & Ors. (2020 SCC Online SC 347),", the reply reads.
The minister stated that the principle enunciated in these decisions forms the basis of the provisions regarding treatment of cases involving Violation in the Draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020.
Last week, the Minister, while responding to a query, had stated that the Draft EIA does not deprive the citizens of their right to report environmental violations. The Ministry stated that the draft, inter alia, promotes the environmental cause; removes redundancies; encourages modernization and Ease of Doing Business; brings defaulters into the environmental regime with requisite action, penalty and remediation; and introduces standardization and a technology driven process.
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