38.6c New Delhi, India, Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Environment

Laws remain unenforced, constitutional courts to monitor functioning of environmental bodies: SC [Read Judgment]

By Harshvardhan Sharma      01 February, 2024 10:51 AM      0 Comments
Laws remain unenforced, constitutional courts to monitor functioning of environmental bodies: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said several laws, rules, and regulations existed for protection of the environment, but their objective is not achieved as these laws remain unenforced or ineffectively implemented.  

A bench of Justices B R Gavai, P S Narasimha and Prashant Kumar Mishra stressed on the need to ensure vibrant functioning of these environmental bodies, assisted by robust infrastructure and human resources.

"The constitutional courts will monitor the functioning of these institutions so that the  environment and ecology is not only protected but also enriched," the bench said.

In its judgement, the court granted its approval to a new body of experts set up by the Centre for consultation on environmental and forest matters, by issuing a slew of directions.

The bench, however, clarified that it will continue to monitor these matters and will also exercise jurisdiction over the new panel, which replaced the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

"We find that by virtue of the notification of September 05, 2023, our concerns regarding the functioning of the CEC as an ad hoc body and that hereinafter it should be institutionalised as a permanent body have been taken care of," the bench said.

The court approved reconstitution of the CEC, which was set up on apex court's order in 2002, having noted that the CEC functioned for two decades as an ad-hoc body.

The said notification provides for the constitution of the CEC, its powers, functions, mandate, members, method of appointment, terms of service, and monitoring of its functioning, the court found.

“We also noticed that the present composition of CEC consists of persons more than the age of 75-year. So, we have taken note of the notification issued by the government. We have also said that this court will continue to have and continue to exercise jurisdiction over the decisions taken by CEC,”  the bench said.

“We have given further directions with respect to how to ensure institutionalisation of the various bodies constituted under different environmental protection acts,” the bench added.

In its directions, the court ordered the CEC to adopt the measures to promote institutional transparency, efficiency, and accountability in its functioning.

The court also told the CEC to formulate guidelines for the conduct of its functions and internal meetings also formulate guidelines about the public meetings that it holds, ensure the publication of meeting agenda in advance on its website, maintain minutes of meetings, and set out rules regarding notice to parties, the court said.

The bench also directed the CEC to formulate guidelines for site visits and, if necessary, hearing the public and affected parties and formulate guidelines fixing time limits for site visits, preparation of reports, and also the manner of preparation of reports.

The court said the rule of law in environmental governance seeks to redress the implementation gap, which has a direct bearing on the protection of the environment, forests, wildlife, sustainable development, and public health, eventually affecting fundamental human rights to a clean environment that are intrinsically tied to right to life.

"Accountability of the authorities impressed with the duty to enforce and implement environmental and other ecological laws is an important feature of judicial governance," the bench said.

The court noted there are a number of bodies, authorities, and regulators, constituted with persons having expertise in the field with requisite knowledge to take appropriate decisions about contentious issues of the environment, forests, and wildlife, and also to ensure effective implementation of environmental laws.  

"These bodies constitute the  backbone of environmental governance in our country. They need to function with efficiency, integrity, and independence. As  duty¬bearers, they are also subject to accountability," the bench said.

The court also issued a number of directions for the existing bodies, including regular and systematic  audit of the functioning of these authorities.

Read Judgment



Share this article:



Leave a feedback about this
Related Posts
View All

SC Issues Notice to Centre on PIL by Ashwini Upadhyay to Debar Candidates From Contesting Polls on Framing of Charges  [Read Petition] SC Issues Notice to Centre on PIL by Ashwini Upadhyay to Debar Candidates From Contesting Polls on Framing of Charges [Read Petition]

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy sought a response from the Union government's Law and Justice and Home Ministries, and the Election Commission on plea by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

SC to take up PIL by Ashwini Upadhyay for publishing draft laws before hand to strengthen law making process SC to take up PIL by Ashwini Upadhyay for publishing draft laws before hand to strengthen law making process

The Supreme Court is set to take up on October 31 an important PIL by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for a direction to the Centre and States to publish draft legislations 60 days before introducing those in Parliament and State Assemblies

Left well-settled job as engineer to pursue legal reforms, Ashwini K Upadhyay to SC Left well-settled job as engineer to pursue legal reforms, Ashwini K Upadhyay to SC

Upadhyay was arguing in person for his PIL seeking a direction to the Centre and States to constitute expert committees to examine good practices of the countries, ranked among top 20 in Corruption Perception Index.

Uniform laws on inheritance, maintenance, divorce in domain of Parliament: SC to Ashwini K Upadhyay Uniform laws on inheritance, maintenance, divorce in domain of Parliament: SC to Ashwini K Upadhyay

The Supreme Court on Friday orally observed that bringing uniform laws for inheritance, maintenance, divorce and guardianship fell in domain of Parliament.

TRENDING NEWS

a-critique-of-the-supreme-courts-adventurism-for-lgbtqia-rights
Trending Legal Insiders
Overreaching Jurisdiction: A critique of the Supreme Court's adventurism for LGBTQIA rights

In its over-enthusiasm to protect LGBTQIA+ rights, has the Supreme Court exceeded its constitutional mandate under Article 142? A Delhi University research scholar evaluates the theme.

22 April, 2024 10:48 AM
new-criminal-laws-watershed-moment-for-society-cji
Trending Legal Insiders
New criminal laws watershed moment for society: CJI [Read Inaugural Remarks]

CJI Chandrachud hails new criminal laws as a watershed moment, marking a significant overhaul for the justice system, emphasizing adaptation and technology's role.

22 April, 2024 11:26 AM

TOP STORIES

burden-to-prove-dishonest-damage-to-electric-meter-is-for-electricity-theft-is-on-the-prosecution-says-delhi-hc
Trending Judiciary
Burden to prove dishonest damage to electric meter is for electricity theft, is on the prosecution: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

Delhi High Court has held that the burden to prove that a person has ‘dishonestly’ damaged an electric meter to commit electricity theft is on the prosecution.

17 April, 2024 05:41 PM
pil-filed-by-ashwini-kumar-upadhyay-in-sc-for-yr-bachelor-of-law-degree-after-class
Trending Judiciary
PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in SC for 3-yr Bachelor of Law degree after Class XII

PIL by Ashwini Kumar in SC seeks to shorten law degree to 3 years post-Class XII, citing current 5-year span as irrational.

18 April, 2024 11:21 AM
centre-sets-up-high-powered-committee-to-suggest-measures-to-end-discrimination-against-queer-community
Trending Executive
Centre sets up high-powered committee to suggest measures to end discrimination against queer community [Read Order]

Centre forms committee to end discrimination against the queer community, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, following a Supreme Court directive.

18 April, 2024 12:11 PM
after-karnataka-hc-delhi-hc-sets-aside-government-circular-banning-23-ferocious-dog-breeds
Trending Judiciary
After Karnataka HC, Delhi HC sets aside Government circular banning 23 'ferocious' dog breeds [Read Judgement]

After Karnataka High Court, the Delhi High Court has set aside a Government circular banning 23 'ferocious' dog breeds.

18 April, 2024 01:06 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email