Environment activists question committee formed to review green laws

December 02, 2014 08:36 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

On what basis did the Ministry of Environment & Forests select members for the high-level committee (HLC) that recently reviewed the various environment laws? And did this HLC have the approval from the Prime Minister?

The EIA Resource and Response Centre, an NGO working towards environment protection, put forth these question to the MoEF through an RTI application filed by environmental activist Rohit Choudhury.

To the query for bio-data of the members of HLC, the Central Public Information Officer of the Ministry said, “...the requisite information is not available with the CPIO”.

To another query, the Ministry said the HLC has been formed under the rules and regulations notified under an Act of Parliament, however, there was no specific mention under which Act of Parliament it was constituted.

Environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta said: “Here is a HLC that has been formed to review so many environmental laws. But the irony is that a committee is formed to review such important laws and it was not clear under which law it itself had been constituted. Everything about the HLC seems to be a hurried job to dilute the laws. This only reflects the casual manner in which the committee has been formed.”

Mr. Dutta added, “The Ministry does not have their bio-data. We wanted to know on what basis did they select the very members for the committee.”

The government had in September formed the HLC to review Environment Protection Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Water Act, Air Act, Forest Act and suggest appropriate amendments after assessing the status of their implementation vis-à-vis their objectives and after considering various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts.

The HLC was headed by former Cabinet Secretary of India T.S.R Subramanian and has Viswanath Anand, former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Justice (retd.) A.K. Srivastav, retired Judge of Delhi High Court and K.N. Bhat, senior advocate of Supreme Court and former Additional Solicitor General of India as members.

It has submitted its report to the government and sources said it has suggested single-window clearance system for projects, bringing noise pollution within the ambit of green laws, among others.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.