NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to environmentalist Vikrant Tongad on a review petition moved by the Ministry of Environment against the court's June 30 order where the Centre was directed to publish the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification in languages mentioned in VIII Schedule of Constitution of India.
Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought a response on the review plea from petitioner Vikrant Tongad and slated the matter for September 23.
The Ministry filed the review petition after the court passed an order on a plea by Vikrant Tongad seeking modification in the court's earlier order to extend the time for public comments on the draft EIA notification 2020 by a period of 60 days from the date of uploading the translated versions of the draft notification in all the languages mentioned in Schedule VIII.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, stated that the petition is being preferred only to the extent that this Court has directed the applicant to make all arrangements for the translation of the draft EIA Notification, 2020 into various other languages and at least the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
"Direction of this Court qua translating the draft EIA Notification, 2020 into various languages and at least into the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India would open a floodgate of litigation due to multiple interpretations in different languages and would create a precedent and lead to future demands of translation of all statutory regulations in different languages and would result in a challenge to all the notifications and other official documents of the Union of India for translating them into vernacular languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India," read the plea.
The review petition also mentioned that the court's earlier order would create a massive hurdle in the performance of the normal legislative and administrative functions of the Union of India on account of the inherent procedural and administrative difficulties in translating its notifications and other published documents into the vernacular languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule.
The court had earlier sought response from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to upload and prominently display the translated versions of the draft EIA 2020 on the home page of its main website.
The Delhi High Court, earlier had extended the time granted to the general public to give their suggestions for the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 till August 11 and observed there was ambiguity in the notification dated May 8 which extended the time limit to give the common public its suggestion for draft notification.
The bench had also opined that the proposed notification should be translated into other languages too for the effective dissemination and directed that the translations should be published through the website of the MoEFC and websites of Environment Ministries of all the states as well as those of State Pollution Control Boards, within ten days from June 30.