By LE Desk

Mumbai, April 1: Environmental NGO Vanashakti recently moved a PIL in the Bombay High Court challenging the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2019 under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

The plea challenged the constitutional validity of the notification, claiming that the CRZ regulations “drastically reduced” protection granted to coastal areas by reducing No Development Zone areas on the coast and, in turn, reducing the number of prohibited activities in the CRZ areas.

The NGO also said that the 2019 notification reduced the limits of protected areas near tidally influenced water bodies and dispensed with the requirement of conducting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for many construction activities, The Indian Express reported.

The PIL claimed that the notification is “unconstitutional, manifestly arbitrary” and also violated the right to live in a healthy environment and right to life with personal liberty.

The PIL said that some of the provisions in the notifications have already been struck down by the Supreme Court in its earlier rulings and are contrary to recommendations of various committees appointed by the central government to review the CRZ regime. The plea also stated that the provisions are in violation of the Environment (Protection) Act and were not part of the draft CRZ notification and were inserted later.

The PIL said the 2019 notification diluted essential components of Coastal Zone Maps and protection granted to mangroves and increased Floor Space Index (FSI) in CRZ areas. It said the decision deleted special protection granted to traditional fisherfolk communities and special provisions related to CRZ areas in greater Mumbai.

“The unconstitutionality of the regulations is extensive, wide ranging, comprehensive and far reaching. Rather than protecting and improving the quality of environment or preventing and controlling environmental pollution, the notification instead removes various protections which were present in CRZ 2011,” the plea said.

In light of this, the NGO sought directions to declare the 2019 notifications illegal and the 2011 CRZ notification as binding on the respondent authorities.

The HC will hear the plea in due course.

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