NGO Questions Committee Constituted To Review Environmental Legislations

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The EIA Resource and Response Centre is an NGO that strives towards the protection of environment. The NGO questioned the basis under which the Environment and Forests Department chose members as the High Level Committee which analyzed the environmental legislations in the recent times. The Organization also asked whether the Committee had taken the permission of the Prime Minister before such review. An application was filed by Rohit Choudary, an environmental activist under the Right to Information Act. The information was also sought with regard to the personal details of the High level Committee members. To this query, the Central Public Information Officer stated that such information was unavailable with the Ministry. Moreover, the Ministry was of the opinion that the Committee was constituted according to the rules that are publicized by the Parliament. But, the Officer failed to mention the enactment under which the Committee was formed.

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In the month of September, the Government constituted the Committee for the purpose of analyzing the environmental Acts in India. But the procedure and law under which the committee was constituted was not clear. Hence, the NGO is of the opinion that the Committee has been formed in a hurry without complying with the legal norms. The Committee was entrusted with the task to assess Environment Protection Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Water Act, Air Act, Forest Act etc and to propose relevant changes to be made to these legislations after researching on the judicial reasoning on the enactments.

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The Chairman of the Committee was T S R Subramanian, Former Cabinet Secretary of India and consisted of such other officials including retired Judge of the High Court and Senior Lawyer of the Supreme Court. The report submitted by the Committee provides that noise pollution shall be brought under the green legislations including other matters. Ritwick Dutta, Environmental lawyer was of the view that the Committee was to review many important legislations but the law according to which the Committee was created was not clear. The main reason for the constitution of the Committee is to simplify those legislations.