//Gujarat activists demand separate environment courts

Gujarat activists demand separate environment courts

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

Ahmedabad – Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Gujarat Saturday demanded separate environment courts in each state of the country.

‘Gujarat has become the capital of SEZs (special economic zone) and the SEZ Act and Rules have diluted existing environment laws,’ Mahesh Pandya of the ‘Paryavaran Mitra’, a group of environment activists in Gujarat, told reporters here.

Blaming the poor knowledge of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board officials about the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Pandya said the environmentalists were deprived of the information.

‘Most of our applications remain unanswered, as the officials are not aware of the provisions of the RTI Act. This hampers our activities and we lose our standing in some cases,’ he said.

‘Environment activists across the country have written letters to New Delhi, demanding setting up of a judicial body, a court if possible. It will reduce the burden on the high courts and the Supreme Court. It will also decide environmental cases quickly,’ said Pandya.

Activists of the Paryavaran Mitra earlier said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Law Commission of India had suggested that the central government should create a separate judicial body to tackle environment issues.