Draft EIA: SC rejects Delhi HC order for translation into 22 languages

Environment ministry argued that it is legally not obliged to translate the Draft EIA 2020 notification, into any language other than Hindi and English.

Supreme Court of India

On 13th August 2020 (Thursday), the Supreme Court of India allowed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to withdraw its plea challenging the Delhi High Court order to translate the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification into 22 languages.

The Delhi High Court on 30th June had heard a petition and ordered the Union Government to translate and print the controversial Draft EIA – 2020 notification into all Twenty Two languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution hand had provided 10 days times ti implement the order. The Union Government did not comply with the order and had contempted the court’s order. on 28th July. The Union Government moved the Supreme Court in the matter.

The Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde noted that

“Impugned order is in the correct spirit since, in many rural areas, people may not be conversant with Hindi and English”- Chief Justice SA Bobde

The BJP Union Government’s environment ministry, argued that it is legally not obliged to translate the draft environment impact assessment notification (EIA 2020), into any language other than Hindi and English. It also argued that in case the Delhi High Court order was not set aside or modified, then petitions would be filed in the High Courts demanding the translation of governmental orders, notifications, resolutions etc in other vernacular languages which can lead to inefficiencies.

The Supreme Court has granted liberty to the MOEFCC to approach the Delhi High Court to review its decision, and in case the Delhi High Court ruled unfavorably, to approach the Supreme Court. It has also stayed the Contempt of Court proceeding against the Ministry for not complying with the Delhi High Court order.

Karnataka High Court had previously ordered the Ministry to translate and publish the notification into Kannada and provide ‘reasonable time’ for filing suggestions over the draft. Even the Madras High Court had asked the Ministry if it could translate the draft into Tamil and the Ministry had recently noted that it would publish the draft EIA notification in Tamil soon.

Read About: Supreme Court holds Prashant Bhushan Guilty of Contempt of Court


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April 2024


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