EIA 2020: Karnataka HC Nudges Modi Govt To Translate Draft Law In Kannada, Give Citizens Time To Submit Objections

Akshay Deshmane
·2-min read
Facade of the Karnataka High Court as seen in a file photo. 
Facade of the Karnataka High Court as seen in a file photo.

NEW DELHI—Observing that the citizens’ right tofile objections against the draft environment impact assessment (EIA 2020) notification had been “taken away” since it was released only in English and Hindi—and that too a couple of days prior to the imposition of the coronavirus lockdown—the Karnataka High Court nudged the union environment ministry to translate the draft law in Kannada and give “reasonable time” for people to submit their objections and suggestions.

The Karnataka HC did this in an order dated August 5 through which it also restrained the environment ministry from publishing the final notification based on the draft EIA 2020 notification. The copy of this order was released earlier today.

Effectively this implies that, if the union environment ministry decides to comply, the public consultation process for the controversial new draft law for environment clearance will be conducted separately in Kannada. Officially, though, the last date for public consultation about this law was August 11.

As HuffPost Indiareported earlier, the Karnataka HC had warned in an order dated 16 July that it may consider staying the draft EIA 2020 notification if wide publicity is not given to it in local languages by the environment ministry, and people are not given adequate time to respond. As the August 5 order makes it clear, the court believes the environment ministry has not given wide publicity to the draft law.

“Prima facie, it appears to us that the right of the citizens of lodging objections to the Draft EIA 2020 Notification has been taken away due to the factors which we have indicated above,” the August 5 order given by a two judge bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi said.

Prima facie, it appears to us that the right of the citizens of lodging objections to the Draft EIA 2020 Notification has been taken away due to the factors which we have indicated above.Chief Justice Abhay...

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