While taking note of the submission of the ASG Chetan Sharma, a bench presided over by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh disposed off the matter and directed the Centre that 60 days be given from the date of online publication of the translated versions of the EIA draft for filing objections by stakeholders. Notably, the draft EIA 2020 notification had drawn heavy criticism with experts and activists alike terming it as an effort to dilute environmental governance.
Several hearings later, the Centre had on August 27 this year agreed in principle to translate the draft into all 22 languages. The Ministry had vehemently opposed the translation of the draft and told the High Court that it would lead to administrative chaos and that there would be administrative difficulties in the implementation of the translation into 22 languages.
Environment conservationist and founder member of Social Action for Forests and Environment (SAFE), Vikrant Tongad had sought modification in the court's earlier order to extend the time for public comments on the draft EIA notification 2020 by a period of 60 days from the date of uploading the translated versions of the draft notification in all the languages mentioned in Schedule VIII. He had also challenged the notification last year in June demanding an extension in time for people to send in comments in view of the lockdown due to the pandemic.
The court had sought the Centre's response earlier in this regard as many people will not be able to read a draft of public interest that is in English and Hindi.
The Ministry had originally published the draft EIA 2020 notification dated March 23, 2020, in the official gazette on April 11, 2020.