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Environment Ministry’s Memorandum : EIA

Environment Ministry’s Memorandum Stayed:

 

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.

  • 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.

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