EIA Notification

News: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has granted an interim stay on the operation of an office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Details:

  • The memorandum provided a procedure for the grant of post facto clearance to projects that have come up without environmental clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006 mandated prior clearance, and there was no provision for the grant of post facto clearance under the EIA notification.
  • The memorandum provided a backdoor entry to violators. By way of the memorandum, violators of the EIA notification could obtain clearance and regularise violations. The ex-post facto clearance is also alien to the environmental jurisprudence. It was also against the principles of natural justice, and the right of the people to participate in environmental decision-making. It was also violative of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

About EIA:

  • The EIA was an important tool to ensure the optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development.
  • Its purpose was to identify, examine, assess and evaluate the likely and probable impact of a proposed project on the environment.
  • Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, India notified its first EIA norms in 1994, setting in place a legal framework for regulating activities that access, utilise, and affect (pollute) natural resources.
  • Every development project has been required to go through the EIA process for obtaining prior environmental clearance ever since. The 1994 EIA notification was replaced with a modified draft in 2006.