Team  SoOLEGAL

THE KEY TO PRESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIFE UNDER ARTICLE 21 IS THE HEALTH OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Holds Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 1 Apr 2019 2:11pm

THE KEY TO PRESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIFE UNDER ARTICLE 21 IS THE HEALTH OF THE ENVIRONMENT: Holds Supreme Court

NGT earlier upheld the EC and imposed additional conditions for safeguarding the environment. Hanuman Laxman Aroskar and Federation of Rainbow Warriors assailed the NGT order before the Apex Court. Advocate Anitha Shenoy appeared on behalf of the appellants and pointed out that there are many shortcomings and lacking in procedural compliance in issuing the EC. Attorney General of India K.K Venugopal had submitted that the proposed project for setting up an international airport at Mopa has been on the drawing board for nearly two decades. Also, there is a dire need for setting up of an airport since the existing one has reached a saturation point and is unable to cater to the growing volume of passenger traffic into Goa, he told the court.

The EAC (Expert Appraisal Committee) was directed by the Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta to again look upon it's  recommendations so that the clearance be granted.

Present was a detailed judgment in which the bench agreed to the various shortcomings (procedural) in the grant of EC. The court further added that the NGT has failed to discharge an adjudicatory function which properly belongs to it by not carrying out a merit review. It said:

"There has been a failure of due process commencing from the non-disclosure of vital information by the project proponent in Form 1. Disclosures in Form 1 are the underpinning for the preparation of the ToR. The EIA report, based on incomplete information has suffered from deficiencies which have been noticed in the earlier part of this judgment including the failure to acknowledge that within the study area contemplated by the Guidance manual, there is a presence of ESZs." 

Emphasizing on public consultation being important, the bench said that it cannot be reduced to a mere incantation or a procedural formality which has to be completed to move on to the next stage. The allegation that the appellants had a malafide intention was also rejected by the Court. It further added:

"Public consultation involves a process of confidence building by giving an important role to those who have a plausible stake. It also recognizes that apart from the knowledge which is provided by science and technology, local communities have an innate knowledge of the environment. The knowledge of local communities is transmitted by aural and visual traditions through generations. By recognizing that they are significant stakeholders, the consultation process seeks to preserve participation as an important facet of governance based on the rule of law. Participation protects the intrinsic value of inclusion."

Tagged: SupremeCourt   NationalGreenTribunal   ElectionCommissionOfIndia  
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