As the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) finalises its proposals to amend some of the environment related laws, many non-governmental organisations and opposition parties have asked the government not to frame the amendments on the basis of the TSR Subramanian Committee report, which had recommended an overhaul of the environmental governance structure in the country.
In a latest move, Congress leader Ashwani Kumar, who till recently headed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, has warned that if the MoEF acted on the Subramanian panel report, it would be a breach of parliamentary privilege as the parliamentary committee had unanimously rejected the panel’s recommendations.
“It is crystal clear from the unanimous recommendations of the standing committee that the TSR Subramanian Committee report should not be acted upon in any manner whatsoever… Instead of accepting the unanimous recommendations of the standing committee to reject the report, your ministry has in fact retained a technical consultant to establish a legal framework based on the recommendations in the (TSR Committee) report. The draft Environmental Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015, in fact, contains provisions based on the recommendations of the Subramanian panel report,” Kumar wrote in a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.
“Let me again reiterate that introducing into law or acting upon any of the recommendations of the Subramanian committee will be an unacceptable deviation from the established parliamentary conventions, giving rise to a case of parliamentary privilege… Considering the confrontationist attitude of your ministry… it appears as if the government is totally insensitive to parliamentary oversight of executive decisions which cannot be countenanced,” Kumar added.
The Environment ministry has maintained that the recommendations of the panel would form only one of several inputs it is taking to amend some environmental laws to bring them in line with current requirement.