Case Note: Access to Information as Ruled by the Indian Environmental Tribunal: Save Mon Region Federation v. Union of India
Abstract: On 14 March 2013, the National Green Tribunal of India passed an order in an ongoing statutory appeal against the environmental approval granted to a hydropower project. The order related to the preliminary issue of condoning a delay in the filing of the appeal. The Tribunal attributed a significant part of the delay to the nondisclosure of complete information regarding the approval. The delay in filing was condoned as concerned authorities had not complied with the relevant environmental regulations. Although the order did not address the merits of the case, it is of great significance for the Indian environmental justice system since it grapples with one of the key hurdles in the regime – poor access to information – and thus has the potential to transform the environmental regulatory space by making it more transparent. Environmental decision-making processes, particularly in the developing countries, are often opaque and inaccessible. India’s experience in striving to improve its processes may thus provide useful lessons for other jurisdictions.
2013 22 (2) Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 202-206