Draft EIA notification
Draft EIA notification
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Delhi HC issues notice in Centre's review petition against direction to publish Draft EIA Notification 2020 in regional languages

The Centre has submitted that the direction to translate the Draft EIA Notification does not consider Part XVII and Article 343 of the Constitution, which provides that the official language of India shall be Hindi.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today issued notice in the Central Government's review petition against the order directing it to publish the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020 in regional languages (Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India).

The review petition was listed before a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

Following a petition by Vikram Tongad to ensure a meaningful consultation around the Draft EIA Notification 2020, the Division Bench had passed an order directing the Central Government to publish the Draft Notification in the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, on the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and other related sites.

Seeking a review of this direction, the Central Government has contended that the order suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record.

It is submitted that the direction to translate the Draft Notification does not consider the provisions of Part XVII and, in particular, Article 343 of the Constitution, which expressly provides that the official language of the Union of India shall be Hindi in Devnagari script.

In terms of Article 343(3), Parliament has provided that English shall continue to be used for official purposes of the Union in addition to Hindi, it is added.

"All Notifications, Draft Notifications and other official documents issued by Union are required to be only in English and Hindi language and there is no mandate Iaw which requires issuance of such documents in any other vernacular/local language."
Centre has asserted.

Central Government has further argued that the Official Language Act, 1963, as well as the Environmental (Protection) Rules, do not require the Draft EIA Notification to be issued in any language other than Hindi and English.

In its review petition, the Central Government has also apprehended that the translation and interpretation of the Draft Notification might result in the “meaning of the words being obfuscated and even lost” and result in "massive hurdles" in the performance of legislative and administrative functions by setting a precedent.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma appeared for Central Government. Tongad was represented by Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Earlier this week, the Court had notice in Tongad's application seeking a direction to further extend the deadline to submit objections to the Draft EIA Notification 2020.

The matter would be heard next on September 23.

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