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Contempt plea says EIA draft not in 22 languages, Delhi HC seeks Centre reply

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to the Environment Ministry, which was directed by the court on June 30 to ensure that the draft EIA is published in all 22 Indian languages within 10 days, and sought its response to the contempt plea by August 17.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 12, 2020 12:54:10 am
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to reply to a plea seeking contempt action against it for alleged “wilful disobedience” of a judicial order to ensure that the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, is published in all 22 languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution within 10 days from June 30

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to the Environment Ministry, which was directed by the court on June 30 to ensure that the draft EIA is published in all 22 Indian languages within 10 days, and sought its response to the contempt plea by August 17.

The petitioner, environmental conservationist Vikrant Tongad, alleged “wilful disobedience and deliberate defiance” by the ministry, since it neither published the translated versions of the draft EIA nor sought more time from the court to do so. The draft EIA, according to the plea, provides for post facto approval of projects and does away with public consultation in some cases.

On June 30, a division bench of the High Court said that looking at far-reaching consequences of the public consultation process, for which the draft notification has been published, “we are of the view that it would be in aid of effective dissemination of the proposed notification if arrangements are made for its translation into other languages as well, at least those mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution”.

The order had come on Tongad’s plea seeking extension of the time to respond to the draft EIA until September, or till the pandemic subsists. “This draft notification proposes significant changes… including removing public consultation entirely in certain instances, reducing the time for public consultation from 45 days to 40 days, and allowing post facto approvals for projects,” it had said.

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