Release report on Western Ghats,court tells MoEF

The court has directed the central government to ensure that the complete summary of the WGEEP report is placed on the ministry’s website,besides supplying a copy to RTI applicant G Krishnan.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: May 21, 2012 12:24 am

The summary of the report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP),under the chairmanship of Prof Madhav Gadgil,and its report on the Athirappilly hydro-electric project in Kerala will finally be made public — not in piecemeal but in entirety.

Dismissing an appeal by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) against a CIC order,Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court has held: “A policy evolved in the largest public interest and public good can certainly not be said to be against the strategic,scientific or economic interest of the State.”

The court has directed the central government to ensure that the complete summary of the WGEEP report is placed on the ministry’s website,besides supplying a copy to RTI applicant G Krishnan.

The ministry had sought to prevent disclosure of the report on the ground that it would affect the “scientific or economic interests of the State” and also impede the decision-making process,involving consultation with the states affected by the recommendations in the report.

The counsel for the government further argued that the materials,which have gone into the preparation of the report of the WGEEP,have already been made public and the entire report could be disclosed only after consultation with the affected state governments of the Western Ghats region is completed and a final decision with regard to acceptance or rejection,in whole or in part or with modifications etc,is taken.

Justice Sanghi,however,remained unimpressed with the MoEF’s arguments and noted that there was no reason to apprehend that the disclosure of the WGEEP report,at this stage,would impede the decision-making process,and also would adversely affect their scientific or economic interests.

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