HC Halts Govt Move To Grant Builders Exemption From Green Nod
The Delhi High Court on November 26 stayed the two notifications of the environment ministry through which it granted exemption from environmental clearance to real estate projects with a built-up area of up to 50,000 square metre, and industrial sheds, educational institutions and hospitals with a built-up area of up to 150,000 sqm.
The HC passed the interim order on a plea by a non-governmental organisation, challenging the November 14 and 15 notifications of the ministry, alleging that they were in violation of fundamental rights to protect life and personal liberty and equality before law. The court sought response of the ministry on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on February 19.
The ministry on November 15 notified that residential projects with a built-up area of 20,000-50,000 sqm would no longer require an environmental approval. Urban-local bodies will have the authority to give clearance to such projects. Similarly, urban-local authorities will give clearance to industrial sheds, educational institutions, hospitals and hostels for educational institutions, with a built-up area of 20,000 sqm to 1.5 lakh sqm, and a green clearance would not be required.
If so happens
While seeking the permission of the urban-local bodies, developers of such projects would only have to submit self-declaration, stating green norms were being followed while building the project, by and large.
Under the existing rules, projects with a built-up area of up to 20,000 sqm do not have to apply for a green clearance. It was only in December 2016 that the ministry has raised this limit.
Though a notification in that year, the green ministry said projects in the range of 5,000 sqm and 20,000 sqm would not need to seek green clearance, a move quashed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The Centre challenged the NGT order in the apex court. Interestingly, the Centre has decided for further stretching of the limit while that the case is still pending in the Supreme Court.