The Union Government of India has been given until March 31 this year by the Supreme Court to set up a national environment regulator. The court has mandated that offices of a National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority be established in all states to oversee the implementation projects that impact the country’s environment. The court said that henceforth the task of processing, appraisals and approval of the projects for environmental clearance would be done by the regulator as it could carry out independent, objective and transparent appraisal environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and also monitor the implementation of the conditions.
This latest ruling from the court is one of a series it has made against the Union Government in environmental affairs, seemingly believing that – in the absence of effective government policy – a more activist judicial approach is needed to set the country’s house in order. This is also reflected in the National Green Tribunal, another Jairam Ramesh initiative, which was launched in October 2011 as special fast-track court to handle the expeditious disposal of cases pertaining to environmental issues.