press trust of india
New Delhi, 6 January
The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to appoint a national regulator for appraising industrial projects in green belts, enforcing environmental conditions and to impose penalties on polluters.
Turning down the plea of the Centre that there is no need to appoint such a regulator, the apex court said that the present mechanism is “deficient” in many respects and directed the government to appoint a new body to ensure the effective implementation of the National Forest Policy. A three-judge green bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik passed the order on an application filed by the Centre urging it to modify its order of 2011 by which it was directed to appoint the regulator under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act. The Government had contended that the Centre alone is the regulator and it cannot be done by any other body.
The SC said the government is not right in arguing that in 2011 in the Lafarge Umiam case, this court has merely suggested that a National Regulator be appointed and it was not a direction.