Demystifying the Environmental Clearance Process in India
Volume 6 Issue 3 (2013)
In recent years there have been several controversies regarding projects being granted (or denied) environmental regulatory approvals. While many civil society groups and those adversely affected believe that legal procedures are being bypassed for commercial gain at immense cost to the environment and the larger public interest; the corporate sector, and at least sections of the government, perceive the regulatory processes to be a road- block in the country’s growth trajectory. This paper maps out the process to be followed before projects are granted one such regulatory approval – the environmental clearance under the EIA Notification 2006 – and presents an analysis of some of the problematic aspects in its design and implementation. Several stakeholders with a variety of interests, often conflicting, are involved, and the process is deeply contentious with significant implications for a range of rights. This paper aims to bring some clarity to our understanding of this complex process through a critical examination of the Notification, related documents and judicial pronouncements.