This is nothing but putting spokes in the execution of the project by filing publicity interest litigation: HC

Even as the three-day public hearing in connection with the laying of the natural gas pipeline is scheduled to start from Wednesday in seven districts of Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the implementation of the project.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal, dismissed a PIL filed by an advocate, M. Vetriselvan, which sought to forbid GAIL (India) Ltd. from executing the nearly 600-km project without first obtaining environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of September 14, 2006.

The Bench observed: “If any interference is made by this court at the instance of a person like the petitioner, who has no material to establish any of his allegations, to stall the ongoing project, it will have adverse impact on the ongoing project, which has been brought out by the Government of India taking into consideration the larger interests of the public, for the supply and distribution of natural gas for the household, commercial and transport sectors.”

The project is from Kochi to Bangalore. The pipeline is to pass through Coimbatore, Namakkal, Tirupur, Krishnagiri, Erode, Dharmapuri and Salem.

The Bench said the judgment of a Division Bench in the matter had attained finality. Thereafter, the Tamil Nadu government issued a notification about the public hearing of the affected agriculturists and land owners from March 6 to 8. From the details furnished by Advocate-General A.Navaneethakrishnan, the Bench held that the guidelines formulated by the Division Bench had been complied with by the government by issuing a notification in newspapers with regard to the public hearing. If for any reason as stated by the counsel that the respondents had not conducted the meeting as per law, then only a cause of action would arise for the aggrieved parties to assail the outcome or the manner of conduct of the meeting. Having waited for a long time since the judgment of the Division Bench, at the eleventh hour, the petitioner had come forward with the present petition under the garb of public interest litigation.

As seen from the sanction of the project, no individual had raised his little finger, except the present petitioner under the garb of a PIL. This was nothing but putting spokes in the execution of the project by filing “publicity interest litigation,” the Bench said.

  • The project is from Kochi to Bangalore

  • The pipeline is to pass through seven districts