New Delhi, Oct 31 :
The Supreme Court will hear Nov 14 a plea for setting up of a regulatory authority to look into environmental matters including the impact, assessment and the enforcement of the National Forest Policy as was directed by the court in 2011.
The green bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that they would hear the matter as amicus curiae on environmental matters Harish Salve said that the court in Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd case had directed the setting up of the regulatory authority for the implementation of the National Forest Policy, 1988.
“What is the problem in appointing the regulatory authority,” Chief Justice Dattu asked as Salve told the court that matter has been pending since 2011.
The central government is dithering on setting up regulatory authority contenting that it would be a super body over and above the ministry of environment and forest and the National Green Tribunal.
The apex court July 6, 2011, while allowing French cement giant Lafarge to mine for limestone in the forests of Meghalaya’s East Khasi hills had said that there has to be a balance between environmental protection and sustainable development.
It had said that under section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986: “It is incumbent on the central government … to appoint an appropriate authority, preferably, in the form of regulator, at the state and at the central level for ensuring implementation of the National Forest Policy, 1988.”
Pitching the regulatory body on environment matter, the court had said that the difference between a regulator and a court must be kept in mind.
“The court/tribunal is basically an authority which reacts to a given situation brought to its notice whereas a regulator is a pro-active body with the power conferred upon it to frame statutory rules and regulations. The regulatory mechanism warrants open discussion, public participation, circulation of the draft paper inviting suggestions”, the court had said July 6.
The court had also then issued 15 guidelines that the environment and forest ministry has to follow for grant of clearance of project having bearing on the forest areas.