In the last two decades, government after government has sought to regularise projects in violation of environment laws. So far, at least 11 such attempts have been made via office memorandums, circulars and notifications.
The fate of most of them has been fatal.
The Supreme Court, high courts and the National Green Tribunal have repeatedly held that concept of post-facto environmental clearance is in derogation of fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence.
Most recently, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has granted an interim stay on a July 7 office memorandum that would’ve made way for retrospective regularisation of projects.
The petition before the high court was bound to succeed since any retrospective blessing to environment law violators can only be given via an amendment to the Environment Protection Act, KN Bhat, senior advocate practicing at the Supreme Court, told BloombergQuint.
The Environment Ministry’s concerted efforts are indicative of the fact that their mandate is no longer protection of the environment but appeasement of the industry, Nivit Yadav, programme director at Centre for Science and Environment, opined.
In May this year, the Bombay High Court had stayed another office memorandum which sought to regularise projects which have commenced without obtaining coastal regulatory zone clearance.