PIL challenging notification filed by GF and CCCF; Matter fixed for hearing on April 22
PANJIM: The High Court of Bombay at Goa has issued notice to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2019, which came into force from January. The notice issued on March 13, is returnable by April 22.
NGOs Goa Foundation and Colva Civic and Consumer Forum had moved the High Court alleging that the impugned CRZ notification is contrary to settled principles of environmental law, sustainable development and intergenerational equity.
The Division Bench comprising of Justice Prithviraj Chavan and Justice RD Dhanuka has fixed the matter for hearing on April 22, wherein it will also hear two other PILs filed by Federation of Rainbow Warriors, Margao and social activist Kashinath Shetye, challenging the notification.
“Affidavit in reply to be filed within two weeks with copy to be served to the Petitioner's Advocate simultaneously. Rejoinder, if any, to be filed within one week from the date of service of reply with copy to be served to the Respondents' Advocate simultaneously,” the order stated.
The petitioner Goa Foundation Director, Claude Alvares said that the PIL has been filed as the impugned notification portends to allow unwarranted expansion of activities/projects in ecologically fragile coastal environments thereby violating the aims, objects and provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Rules issued there under.
The petitioner stated that the notification makes vast and unjustified reductions in No-Development Zones (NDZ) and other provisions installed in the 2011 CRZ notification, which now stands superseded. CRZ notification has reduced the NDZ from the earlier 200 meters from high tide line to 50 meters.
“It removes khazan areas and turtle nesting sites of Goa from the direct purview of the notification without cause. Therefore, it severely dilutes the standards of environmental protection applied earlier over three decades under the 1991 and 2011 regimes and seeks to allow a significant increase in the nature and type, as well as the number of activities that would adversely impact coastal ecosystems,” the petitioner said.
“The impugned notification is contrary to settled principles of environmental law, sustainable development and intergenerational equity. It favours an industrial, commercial outlook through expansive urbanization at an irreparable cost to coastal environments and coastal communities,” the petitioner alleged.