A petition had been filed in court, asking the notification be translated in all 22 regional languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution
The Karnataka High Court on August 5, 2020, stayed the publication of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020, till the next hearing on September 7.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the United Conservation Movement Charitable and Welfare Trust (UCMCWT). The petition prayed before the court that the notification be translated in all 22 regional languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and that the last data of receiving comments on the draft be extended to December 31.
“The court told the Centre that if they widely publicise the notification and give sufficient time for consultation, they can then approach the court to finalise the notification,” Prince Isac, the lawyer representing UCMCWT in the court, said.
The Union Ministry of ENvironment, Forest and Climate Change had published the draft EIA notification on March 23, with a deadline for accepting public comments till June 30. Hearing a petition, the Delhi High Court extended the last date of comments to August 11.
The court also asked the ministry to translate the notification into the languages specified in the 22 regional languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, for effective dissemination of the notification. The ministry had to do this within 10 days.
“The stand of the government on the translation of the notification in regional languages has been ambiguous. In the second hearing, they said they had already told the state governments to start the translation, but in the third hearing, they said the government was not obliged to translate. The court then decided to hear the matter August 5,” Vishal Sinha, one of the lawyers associated with the case, said.
The Centre told the court August 5 that it’ll take a decision on translating the notification in regional languages and increasing the time period for accepting public comments in a day or two, Isac said. “But they have not put this in writing or on record,” he added.
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