BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL questioning the improper constitution of the Experts Appraisal Committee for river valley and hydroelectric projects.
Hearing a petition in which the petitioner has also sought writ of quo-warranto against the chairman and members of the committee, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued notice to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Questioning the notification dated July 13, 2020 issued by the Union government to constitute the committee, the petitioner, United Conservation Movement Charitable Welfare Trust, contended that the notification was ultra vires as it created a new category of Member known as ‘non-official’ member.
Advocate Prince Isaac, representing the petitioner, argued that the chairman and the committee members do not meet the prescribed statutory qualifications. Further, he argued that, as there would be a flurry of applications from various sectors for prior environment clearance for the construction of new projects or expansion or modernisation of existing ones, a direction be issued to the ministry to constitute the committee properly and select qualified members by issuing a public notice in the media.