The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the operation of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order asking Indian Railways and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to seek environmental clearances for their projects.
A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and A M Khanwilkar prima facie agreed to the submission of Delhi Metro and Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) that the order of the Tribunal was erroneous and if they were forced to seek clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forest, their projects will get delayed.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the government firms, said there was a notification to this effect and Railways and DMRC are not required to seek environmental clearances for their projects like dedicated freight corridors.
On April 28, this year, MoEF and DMRC had informed the NGT that Metro Rail projects are not required to seek environmental clearance (EC).
The Environment Ministry had told NGT that railway and Metro Rail projects were not within the purview of the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment Notification and therefore prior EC was not required.
Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had held that the Indian Railways and the DMRC would have to secure environmental clearance from MoEF for their projects.