Draft EIA notification
Draft EIA notification
Litigation News

Madras HC issues notice in another plea seeking translation of Draft EIA Notification into vernacular languages

The plea also seeks an extension of the time granted to file objections to the Draft EIA, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court has issued notice in another plea urging for directions that the Draft Environmental Impact (Draft EIA) Notification, 2020 be translated into vernacular languages (B Ramkumar Adityan v. Union of India).

The plea also seeks an extension of the time granted to file objections to the Draft EIA, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Notice was issued by a Bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthil Ramamoorthy, which also directed that the plea be tagged along with a related case pending before the Bench of Justices MM Sundresh and R Hemalatha.

The petitioner's counsel today submitted that the Delhi High Court had earlier directed for the translation of the Draft EIA notification into all official vernacular languages specified in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. This order was passed on June 30. A challenge made to this ruling was also dismissed by the Supreme Court, the petitioner argued today.

Despite this, it was contended that the Centre is yet to publish the Draft EIA Notification in vernacular languages. It is only available in English and Hindi languages, the petitioner said, adding that this would not address the needs of persons in other regions. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, it should be translated into Tamil, he said.

In response, the Government pointed out before the first Bench today that a similar plea seeking the translation of the Draft EIA notification is pending before the Bench headed by Justice Sundresh, in which matter notice has also been issued.

The petitioner argued that the plea before the Justice Sundresh Bench is slightly different in that it seeks to quash the Draft EIA notification as well, whereas his plea only calls for the Centre to follow appropriate procedure.

The first Bench, however, pointed out that both pleas can be heard together.Therefore, it directed that both matters be linked. Whereas a request for a separate stay was made by the petitioner today, the Court declined to grant the same.

The Justice Sundresh-led Bench is due to take up the case next on September 8. In the last hearing, the Court had directed for the matter to be listed a day after the Karnataka High Court's August 5 stay on the Draft EIA Notification expired on September 7.

As far as proceedings before the Delhi High Court are concerned, on August 11, the Court issued notice in a contempt plea against the Central Government for its failure to publish the Draft EIA Notification in vernacular languages.

The Supreme Court stayed the contempt proceedings a few days later and granted the Centre liberty to approach the Delhi High Court seeking a review of its June 30 order.

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