Our order would decide fate of real-estate projects cleared by states: NGT

Our order would decide fate of real-estate projects cleared by states: NGT

Our order would decide fate of real-estate projects cleared by states: NGT

The National Green Tribunal has put various state governments on notice saying its order would decide the fate of various real estate projects which have been processed by notifying their amended building bye-laws.

The NGT had earlier refused to stay the Environment Ministry's December 9 notification which had exempted building and construction projects of all sizes from the process of environment impact assessment (EIA) and prior environmental clearance before beginning construction.

For smaller projects (less than 20,000 sq m) it even has a "self-declaration" clause, which will ensure issuance of permission from urban local bodies. For larger projects of more than 20,000 sq m size the EC and building permission will be given by urban local bodies simultaneously in an "integrated format"
A vacation bench headed by Justice Dalip Singh, however, has now made it clear that if any proposal of the states are processed and approval is granted, then MoEF shall communicate them that it would be subject to final decision of the NGT.

"We direct that in the event of any proposal has been processed and draft approval is granted by the MoEF, even those states will also be conveyed about this fact that the proposals are subject to outcome of this application," the bench said.

The matter is now posted for hearing on July 10.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity seeking quashing of the December 9 notification on the ground that it was in contravention to the provisions of EIA notification, 2006 and Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The petition claimed that Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and the Delhi governments have already notified their amended building bye-laws in pursuance to the amended EIA notification and several others were also in process of doing it.

It alleged that MoEF "continues to receive, consider and grant concurrence" to the amended rules in the absence of any stay on the notification without any power under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The plea, filed through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, said that the amended building bye-laws issued by the States in pursuance to the EIA amendment notification will create third parties' rights of several organisations involved in building and construction during the pendency of this matter.
"Therefore, directions of this tribunal not to give effect to the operations of building bye-laws exempting prior EC up to 1,50,000 sq metres as well the process of granting concurrence be suspended till the pendency of this matter is necessary," the plea said.

It has sought directions to the three states not to give effect to the operation of amended building bye-laws exempting prior EC during the pendency of the current matter.