SC restrains board from clearing projects

SC restrains board from clearing projects

The Supreme Court has restrained newly constituted standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) from clearing any project, falling in and around national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves, saying reconstitution was not done in consonance with the Wildlife Act, 1972.

A green bench of justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar and A K Sikri sought a response within two weeks from the Ministry of Environment and Forest on a plea made by Chandra Bhal Singh, a wildlife enthusiast, and resident of Pune, challenging the July 22, 2014, notification changing the constitution of the standing committee.

The court’s order would put the fate of about 140 projects in balance. The NBW is very crucial in the sense that it is an apex body under the chairmanship of the prime minister under the 1972 Act and its standing committee, headed by the environment minister, is entrusted with the task of reviewing projects.

A fresh committee under Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on August 12 cleared most of the 140 projects, awaiting review by the panel. The bench ordered that any decision made by the new committee would not come into effect till the apex court take a final call in the matter. 

The petitioner claimed that the July 22 notification did not give due representation to the members of society at large including the NGOs and scientists community, thereby becoming “illegal” and in “gross violation of the law and Constitution”.

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