The Madras High Court has upheld a notification dated January 1, 2009 of the Union Environment and Forest Ministry, which exempts Sterlite Industries (India) Limited in Thoothukudi from public consultation with regard to its expansion.
The first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh upheld the exemption while dismissing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) from Pushparayan, Project Director of East Coast Research and Development of Thoothukudi, recently.
“In view of the consistent stand taken by all the authorities including SIPCOT, that Sterlite Industries is situated within the SIPCOT complex, we have no difficulty in holding that exemption from public consultation would certainly apply. We do not find any merit in the writ petition and the same stands dismissed,” the bench said.
Petitioner challenged the notification on the ground that it was contrary to the provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification dated September 14, 2006 and the provisions of Environmental Protection Act, with regard to public consultation.
The bench noted that for the projects and activities located within the Industrial Estates or Parks, which were notified prior to the 2006 EIA notification, the exemption from public consultation would apply.
“On a perusal of the notifications, we are satisfied that no public consultation is required for the present case. The petitioner is unable to establish before us that the Sterlite is not situated within the SIPCOT Complex”, the bench added and dismissed the PIL.
The status so far
HC has upheld a notification from Union Environment Ministry, which exempts Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd from public consultation with regard to its expansion