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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Environment Ministry to Delhi HC: Not legally required to translate EIA draft

The last date for filing objections and suggestions to the draft was August 11, by which time the ministry received 19.8 lakh responses.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | September 7, 2020 2:14:12 am

In a review petition filed in the Delhi High Court, the Environment Ministry has objected to the court’s direction to translate the controversial draft Environmental Impact Assessment notification 2020 in other Indian languages, saying it was not required by law and would lead to operational difficulties for future legislation.

The High Court on June 30 directed the ministry to publish the draft notification in all 22 languages in the Eight Schedule on a petition filed by conservationist Vikrant Tongad.

The last date for filing objections and suggestions to the draft was August 11, by which time the ministry received 19.8 lakh responses.

One of the main contentions of the petition, filed on Friday, is that issuing the notification in multiple languages would result in translation and interpretation issues as the meaning of words would be obfuscated and in some cases, even lost. Translating the document would “open a floodgate of litigation due to multiple interpretations in different languages,” it said.

“The impugned judgement would create a precedent and lead to future demands of translation of all statutory regulations in different languages and would result in challenge to all the notifications and other official documents of the Union of India for translating them in to vernacular languages..’’says the petition.

The plea says that according to the Official Languages Act, 1963, only Hindi and English will be used for resolutions, general orders and notifications, and that there is no law which requires issuance of documents in any other vernacular language.

Tongad, in the last week of August, moved an application seeking modification of the June 30 judgement to the extent of granting a 60-day extension for receiving public comments on the translated versions of the draft EIA after they are uploaded on the websites of the State Pollution Control Boards.

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