Supreme Court issues new guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court issues new guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies

ByAbraham Thomas
Feb 01, 2024 03:21 PM IST

The court passed the order while approving the Centre’s notification making the expert committee assisting the SC on environment and forest issues – the central empowered committee – to be a permanent body

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that bodies and authorities enforcing environment laws should be accountable, transparent and efficient in their functioning as it issued a slew of directions, including regular audit of their performance towards proper institutionalisation of environmental regulatory bodies and authorities.

Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo)
Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo)

A bench headed by justice BR Gavai said, “We seek to emphasise and reiterate the importance of ensuring the effective functioning of these environmental bodies as this is imperative for the protection, restitution and development of the ecology.”

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The court passed the order while approving the Centre’s notification making the expert committee assisting the Supreme Court on environment and forest issues – the central empowered committee (CEC) – to be a permanent body with members chosen by the Centre for a fixed tenure and specified functions.

Approving the two notifications issued by government on September 5 constituting CEC as a permanent body and on September 8 naming chairperson and members, the bench was satisfied that its concerns over the functioning of CEC have been addressed. At the same time, the court emphasised the need for proper institutionalisation of authorities and bodies dealing with enforcement of environmental rule of law.

The bench, also comprising justices PS Narasimha and PK Mishra, said, “These bodies (tasked with enforcing laws on environment, forests and wildlife) constitute the backbone of environmental governance in our country. They need to function with efficiency, integrity and independence. As duty bearers, they are also subject to accountability.”

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