The Central government has decided to release the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020 in local languages, the Madras High Court was told on Wednesday (B Ramkumar Adityan v. Union of India).
Appearing for the Union government, Advocate Kumaraguru informed a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu that the assurance was made before the Delhi High Court as well, in a related matter.
Kumaraguru added that on or before October 21, steps would be taken by the Central government to publish the notification in vernacular languages. In this light, he urged the High Court adjourn the petitions seeking translation of the Draft EIA notification till after October 21, 2021.
Accordingly, the Court recorded the Centre's submission as well as its request for time to issue guidelines or a notification and adjourned the matter for eight weeks.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, Advocate Sankar Shanmugam, however, pointed out that there is an additional aspect raised by the petitioner apart from translating the notification into local languages. He submitted that the petitioner has also contended that the Draft EIA Notification, 2021 was issued without due public consultation.
The Court, in turn, has noted that the Union government should also pay attention to this second aspect that much wider public participation should be sought. It will be open to the Union government to address this issue, the Court said.
There are a number of petitions filed on the issue of translating the Draft EIA notification, 2020 into vernacular languages before the Court, including one by NGO Meenava Thanthai and advocate B Ramkumar Adityan.