CJI rejects idea of prior approval of eco-sensitive projects

CJI rejects idea of prior approval of eco-sensitive projects
Chief Justice J S Khehar on Saturday rejected the suggestion of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the government, judiciary and other stakeholders should evolve a mechanism to clear eco-sensitive projects at the outset.

Referring to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) framed in 1991, the Attorney General said tourism industry has taken a hit as existing laws do not allow construction within the periphery of 500 metres along seashores while countries like the Maldives have constructed hotels on the beaches.

He suggested that governments, judiciary, civil society and other stakeholders should come together and evolve a mechanism to ensure that eco-sensitive projects are cleared at the start and they should not remain stuck for decades during the construction stage or after completion.

The CJI, however, said when any project is formulated by the government, it is the duty of the administration to think of environment and ecology and courts cannot interfere unless the existing environment is changed.
Justice Khehar did not agree to the suggestion that there should not be a prolonged litigation after a project is either conceived or under implementation or has been completed.

"When the Attorney General referred to the CRZ and the comparison with tourist spots in India and other countries, it seemed as if we were competing with somebody. Environment is not a matter of competition and encompasses humanity at large.
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