Critical Analysis of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment).

Critical Analysis of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) Notification Draft 2020

Introduction of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment)

“The draft EIA (Environment Impact Assessment), 2020 inspires further pollution, with weak regulations over manufacturing and developmental practices In this era of high pollution levels in our cities, we need to strengthen the 2006 EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) instead of allowing more than 30 conditions that will slow down notification for more than 25 toxic industries. “

The United Conservation Movement of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment)

MoEFCC had released a draft EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) notification on March 23, 2020, That is, one day before the lockdown due to COVID-19 epidemic situation in the country. Against which the Ministry received approx. 17 lakh public feedback until August 10, 2020.

The Notification above is under heavy criticism due to the debilitating process of environmental clearance and also for nonconformity of national rules and international obligations. In the opinion of environmentalists, this Notification was released to secure and to ease of doing business for industrialists. Thus, demand for early withdraw.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)(Environment Impact Assessment) plays a vital role as a check and balance between development and environment protection. According to UNEP, “EIA (Environment Impact Assessment)_is a_tool to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts_of_a_project. With the enforcement of notification 2020, the EIA would lose its importance, and the environment has to pay the cost. As here damage to the environment is being considered as ‘development’”.

Beside of delusion in environmental clearance, the EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) new notification has exempted a list of projects from prior requirements and given ex post facto clearance. This list includes solar thermal power projects, solar parks, renewable energy projects, coal, and non-coal mining, etc. By enclosure of such development projects, the Government has ignored the loss and disturbance that would occur to the environment as all of such projects require a vast area and drainage systems.

In the case of Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Rohit Prajapati, the Supreme Court of India stated that “any action taken by the Central Government as per the provisions of Article 2 is necessary to protect, improve and prevent, control and reduce environmental pollution” Or should meet the legal statutory requirement”. The 2020 EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) draft notification has, in a way, contradicted the national rules, judgments, and international obligations.

The B2 category projects, as well as all the strategic projects, have been excluded from EIA’s ambit. All of these projects do not require environment clearance. The term ‘strategic’ is itself controversial, as the notification draft does not define it. Moreover, it can be used as a blanket over illegal acts. To this, the draft states that “such projects will not be placed in the public domain.” Thus, limiting public involvement. Which, in a way, exempts all the national highways and underwater passage constructions. Above all, the draft has exempt construction projects from EIA’s ambit up to 1,50,000 sq. m. which can cause massive devastation. For example, now the controversial Central Vista Project does not need to undertake public scrutiny.

The Supreme Court held that Roger Mathew v. In the case of South Indian Bank Limited, it is noted that excessive delegation of authority or discretion is not permitted. It clearly states that “in the absence of any guidelines, delegates are delegated unbridled and incompetent powers and are therefore, in my opinion, highly delegated. It represents the power to make and it is delegated by the legislature. The guidance provided should be within the policy and framework.

“The Apex Court has somewhere denied the concept of ex post facto and stated it as void and unsustainable. Common Cause v. In Union India f India, the court ruled, “The notion of a former post-faculty or preceding EC is completely bizarre to environmental jurisprudence, including EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) 1994 and EIA 2006”.

Another alarming change introduced is that the cognizance related to the violation would only be reported either by the Government or the project developer or on the suo moto basis. Thus, limited public involvement. Which in a way is controversial to Article 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution where it empowers the citizen to participate to protect and promote the natural environment actively.

India’s_signature_in_the_1992_Rio_Declaration_on_Environment_and_Development_violates international obligations, clarifying in principle 10 of the_above_statement_that_”environmental_issues_are_best_handled_with_the_participation_of_all_concerned_citizens”.Which means that it has given the concerned citizens the right, power and opportunity to participate in policy decision making. In_the Samarth_Trust_case “part of the justice of partnership_which_gave_voice_to_the_High”,_which_was_further represented in the_Delhi_High_Court.

Besides Rio Declaration, India is a signatory of various MEA’s including the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), Paris Agreement, and United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which contains clauses related to prior EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) in the concerned project. In addition to its international obligations, the notification violates the Constitutional Provisions, Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forests (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, (FRA) 2006, and the Panchayat Provisions (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. (PESA). Because of such obligations, the Indian Legislature included principles like sustainable development, precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle and enactment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act 2010.

Faulty public hearing results in insanity in the eyes of the law [Adivasi Majdoor Kisan Ekta Sangthan v. Union of India].  Public Participation is essential in perspective to corporate and coordinate with development projects. However, by draft Notification 2020, the period of consultation has been reduced from 30 to 20 days. Hence the public would have less period to submit their responses under public hearing, for an application seeking environmental clearance.

Other changes brought under this Notification include that a promoter now has to file a report once in a year, relating to activities carried out and permission granted according to the project. Whereas, the EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) 2006 notification ask the promoter to file a report at least once in six months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 10, 2020, inaugurated the Rewa Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh which was funded by World Bank and was commissioned after comprehensive 2020 EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) notification. However, according to the EIA report, the solar power project implanted in Madhya Pradesh has caused a significant impact on the drainage system. Thus was recommended to mitigate the problem. Which has caused reparation or discouragement in case of investment?


Development is essential but not on the cost of devastation to the environment. Environmental laws, rules, and regulations thus help it to balance the development and natural environment. Indeed, some provisions of the notification draft 2020 are worthy, which include the introduction of online mode submissions, Technical Expert Committee, Accredited EIA(Environment Impact Assessment) Consultant Organization, and also amendments made in appeal provision.

Besides of all such merits carried under the draft described above, it mostly favours industrialists and businessmen (“ease of doing business”) and is not in favour of environmental protection. For example, provisions added related to post-facto clearance, the ‘strategic’ and B2 category project would not need public scrutiny, i.e., would not be into the public domain. And, at the last but not the least, an increase in the exclusion of projects from EIA’s ambit (from 20,000 sq. m. to 1,50,000 s. m.) and the last reduction in the numbers of compliance reports.

The changes introduced in the draft are even violating Indian laws as well as international obligations, such as violation rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, environmental laws, and the obligations under principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, etc.

It is true that for growth development is necessary, or for increasing scope for ‘Made in India’ policy and employment, the establishment of industries is necessary, but the development which does not cause harm to anything thing is called positive development. Moreover, for this, the Government needs to comply and strengthen the 2006 notification.


  1. Adivasi Majdoor Kisan Ekta Sangthan v. Union of India 2012
  2. Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited v. Rohit Prajapati & Ors., MANU/SC/0353/2020
  3. Common Cause v. Union of India, (2017) 9 SCC 499
  4. Draft EIA Notification 2020
  5. EIA Notification 2006
  6. Critical analysis of the draft EIA notification 2020
  7. EIA notification 2020 in violation of FRA
  8. EIA notification 2020 draft
  9. analysis
  10. Draft EIA notification international law
  11. Principle 10, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 2020.
  12. Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd., 2019 (15) SCALE 615

Article By: Ragini Pal
(Banasthali Vidyapith)

Leave a Comment