Alerts & Updates

Environment Law Update – Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited v. Union of India

Litigation, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution | Apr 1, 2020

For this week’s update, we take a look at the Supreme Court’s judgment in Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.
In the present case, Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) and certain industrial units in Gujarat had challenged an order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) quashing a circular issued by the MoEF&CC on 14.05.2002 and holding that the concept of ex-post facto Environment Clearance was a concept alien to the Environment Impact Notification, 1994 (EIA Notification, 1994). The NGT had also directed closure of such industries even though ECs had been obtained subsequently.
Dismissing the appeal the SC held that the impugned Circular has introduced the notion of an ex post facto EC, which is fundamentally at odds with the EIA Notification 1994 and is in derogation of fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence, including the precautionary principle and sustainable development.
Having upheld the NGT’s order as regards quashing of the circular, SC directed the concerned industries to deposit compensation quantified at INR 10 Crores each with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. Such amount is to be utilized for restoration and remedial measures to improve the quality of the environment in the subject area where the concerned industries are located.

The SC has adopted the ‘principle of proportionality’ and balanced the need to hold industries accountable for violation of environmental norms, while allowing industry to continue operations once such norms had been complied with. The judgment is a reminder to industry that the Apex Court would not condone non-compliance of environmental laws, which would be applied strictly.

Read the detailed update here.

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