The Madras High Court has closed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by Voice of Nature (VoN) seeking to quash the direction given by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to curtail the two-step process of granting environment clearance to one by deeming the environmental certificate as consent to establish (CTE) the industry.
“The direction of the CPCB appears to have been issued in exercise of powers conferred to the Board under Section 18 of the Act to reduce the delays caused in issuing the Environmental Clearance and CTE under the Pollution Control Enactments, No Statutory provisions nor procedural requirements have been cut down by the CPCB, nor in our opinion, it amounts to any amendment of law by CPCB,” the bench said.
It also noted “Since no prejudice is said to have been caused to any public and therefore, no case for invoking the PIL jurisdiction is made out. The Court cannot undertake the academic interpretation of the Statues unless a cause of action is shown to have arisen when a public cause is espoused by any individual or Society.”
“Therefore, we are not inclined to interfere in the matter and the PIL Writ Petition is dismissed,” the bench added.
VoN through its PIL had contended that the CPCB’s direction that for industries requiring Environmental Clearance (EC), issuing of consent by TNPCBs/PCCs shall be one step process and Environmental Clearance will be deemed as CTE in such cases.
It was argued that the direction was totally contrary to Section 25 of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, which held that no person shall, without the previous consent of the State Board establish or take any steps to set any industry, which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into a stream or well or sewer or on land.