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Environmental law

Indian environment law is a relatively new and challenging field, which has rapidly evolved in the past two decades. It covers the broad spectrum of statutes, treaties, conventions, regulations, circulars, delegated legislations, notifications and policies aimed at protecting the ecology and preventing the degradation of the nature.

There are primarily 3 governing principles involved; i) Sustainable Development; ii) Precautionary principle & iii) Polluter Pays. The Scope of environmental law in promoting “development sans destruction” is tremendous. However, there is a persistent thought that concern for the environment and economic development are opposed to each other. Therefore, it is essential that companies are advised on how businesses can run with minimal environmental damage and in the most feasible manner. With multiple National Green Tribunals (NGT) operational across the country, having sole jurisdiction to handle environmental law related matters, environmental jurisprudence is undergoing a paradigm shift. The NGTs have come down heavily on infringers and because of the presence of the Technical Member as a part of the Bench are able to analyse and adjudicate environmental litigations with more clarity.

CHALLENGES

  • Understanding the ever changing Environmental law regime; NGTs across the country passing orders, sometime even contrary to orders of another coordinate bench
  • Prepositioning of Environmental law/issues vis-à-vis projects
  • Environmental-legal due diligence

OBSERVATIONS

In the wake of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Government of India enacted the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The laws that existed prior to the enactment of EPA essentially focused on specific pollution (such as air and water). NGT has acted vehemently towards Environment protection. However, it seems that the Industrial sector has not been taken into confidence even in the recent amendments.

Retaining Environmental Clearance

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