NATIONAL

Green Tribunal admits plea against environmental nod

The petitioner said fresh environmental clearance could not be sought for a newly constructed building based on earlier environment clearance.— File photo

The petitioner said fresh environmental clearance could not be sought for a newly constructed building based on earlier environment clearance.— File photo  

The National Green Tribunal here on Tuesday admitted a petition by advocate R. Veeramani, challenging the environmental clearance given by the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to convert the new Legislative Assembly cum Secretariat complex in Chennai into a hospital.

A Bench of Justice M. Chockalingam, Judicial Member, and R. Nagendran, Expert Member, after hearing senior counsel P. Wilson for the petitioner and Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar for the State, issued notice to the Tamil Nadu Government and posted the matter for further hearing on September 27.

Fresh notice

The SEIAA and the State Level Expert Appraisal Committee, which were served notice in the last hearing on July 5, were issued fresh notice and asked to file response.

Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar pointed out that the appellant had raised the very same points before the Madras High Court in a pending writ petition.

Final arguments had been heard in the writ petition. The same had been raised, including the issue of jurisdiction of the SEIAA under the EIA Notification of 2006, he said.

A decision by the High Court on the same would have bearing on the outcome of the appeal.

Mr. Wilson submitted that what was pending in the High Court was different and the Tribunal had the jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.

Mr. Veeramani said that when prior environmental clearance was obtained by the government for a project or activity and building constructed, the regime could not ask for a new project or activity that was not permissible.

Further, the environmental notification of September 14, 2006 would not allow any deviation from the original project or activities. Fresh environmental clearance could not be sought for a newly constructed building based on earlier environmental clearance.

Clearance

The SEIAA and the SLEAC did not have the power to give fresh environmental clearance dated May 16, 2012, for the conversion of the building into a hospital when the earlier clearance remained valid. The SEIAA and the SLEAC failed to consider that since the building came within the purview of the CRZ notification and the total value of the tender was more than Rs. 25 core, only the Centre could grant environmental clearance.

‘Unknown procedure’

He said that the fresh clearance granted by the SEIAA was liable to be set aside as the building was situated within 10 km from the Guindy national park. The environmental clearance sought for by the State even when the first clearance was alive and binding was unknown procedure.

He said that the SEIAA had not considered his objections and acted in undue haste and arbitrary manner without application of mind.



Appellant has raised same points in plea before Madras High Court: State

What’s pending in HC is different, Tribunal can entertain appeal: petitioner






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