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Indian Case Summary

Jeet Singh Kanwar And Another vs Moef And Others on 16 April, 2013 – Case Summary

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In the case of Jeet Singh Kanwar and another vs Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and others, heard before the National Green Tribunal (Principal Bench), New Delhi on 16th April 2013, the appellants, Jeet Singh Kanwar and Vinod Kumar Pandey, residents of Village Dhanras and Chhuri respectively, challenged the order dated 18.01.2010 by which the MoEF granted Environmental Clearance (EC) to a power plant proposed by M/s. Dheeru Powergen Private Limited.

Facts of the Case

The proposal was for the installation and operation of a 3 x 350 MW coal-based thermal power plant within the boundary limits of Village Dhanras. The respondents included the Union of India, Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board, and M/s Dheeru Powergen Private Limited. The appellants alleged that the mandate of various guidelines in the Public Consultation Process set out by the EIA Notification dated 14.09.2006 issued by the MoEF was not complied with and even flouted while granting the EC. They also alleged that the public hearing was not held at the site of the proposed project nor in the proximity thereof, but was held at a distance of about 8 K.M. from the project site, in the office of Tehsildar-cum-SDM, Katghora.

Issues Raised

The appellants further alleged that the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) did not apply its mind to the concerns/objections ventilated during the course of the public hearing as well as to other relevant issues. They also claimed that the EC was not made available to the members of the public since it was not placed in the public domain. The appellants have come out with a case that the project is located in a critically polluted area and therefore the same ought not to have been granted the EC.

Court’s Observations

The court observed that the public hearing was attended by a large number of members of the public. The court also noted that the venue of the public hearing was at a distance of about 8 K.M. from the site of the project in question. The court found that the public hearing was conducted in accordance with due procedure envisaged under the MoEF Notification dated 14.09.2006.

Judgment

The court concluded that the public hearing was conducted in accordance with due procedure envisaged under the MoEF Notification dated 14.09.2006. The court also noted that the project site does not come within the critically polluted area for which moratorium has been imposed by the MoEF. The court found that the site of the proposed project falls beyond 15 km radius of Korba town and as such it is not within the limits of “critically polluted” area. Hence, the court dismissed the appeal.