HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

SC: Cong can’t pass off court order as manifesto promise

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 28, 2014
First Published: 01:56 IST(28/3/2014) | Last Updated: 02:00 IST(28/3/2014)

The special forest bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday took a dig at the Congress for including an SC order to set up a green regulator in its 2014 election manifesto. The order was originally opposed by the Congress-led government.

“I read the Congress included green regulator in its manifesto. Now our directions are being included in your manifesto,” said justice AK Patnaik, wondering how a party could propose to set up a body ordered by the court.

In July 2011, SC had asked the Centre to appoint a national regulator for “appraising projects, enforcing environmental conditions for approvals and to impose penalties on polluters.” After the government sought a modification of the order, SC rejected its plea in January and directed it to constitute the authority by March 31.

The Congress’ manifesto -- released on Wednesday-- promised a “bill to set up a national environmental appraisal and monitoring authority, a professional agency to conduct rigorous and time-bound environmental appraisals and recommend clearances.”

Justice Patnaik asked solicitor general Mohan Parasaran about the progress on the regulator’s appointment. Parasaran said the government would seek an extension. “The cabinet approved it but it couldn’t be implemented due to approaching elections,” he said.

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