EIA 2020 – A Ticking Time Bomb

This article is authored by Kashish Singhal, a student at ILS Law College, Pune, and Akshay Tambi, a student at National Law University, Jodhpur. This article attempts to critically examine the provisions introduced in the Draft EIA Notification 2020.

Abstract

The Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Notification was introduced to protect the environment and to ensure a symbiotic relationship between environmental protection and the development of the country. The Draft EIA Notification 2020 (“Draft”), instead of resolving the controversies surrounding the EIA Notification 2006, has created several new ones. With the advent of the Draft, it can be seen that the Government views the EIA process as an impediment to the ease of doing business. The EIA process has been enhanced in the interest of the corporate sector and promotes commercial development at the cost of environmental depletion. This paper aims to provide the reader with an understanding of the EIA process through a critical examination of the provisions introduced in the Draft. This paper examines provisions of the Draft, which violate the principles of environmental law and various judicial decisions. It further investigates the administrative conflict of interest in the formation of the authorities and the weak monitoring compliance mechanism under the Draft. Upon such analysis and a comparative study of laws in other jurisdictions, the paper recommends solutions and a new set of procedures that should be implemented in India to make the EIA process more effective, public-friendly and to strengthen it for the protection of the environment.