Plea for more time to respond to fly ash notification: Delhi HC seeks Centre’s stand

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking extension till October 31 of the time given to the public to respond to a draft notification on fly ash utilisation.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Environment Ministry and sought its stand on the plea by July 16, the next date of hearing.

The petitioner, Sanjay Kumar, has contended that the draft notification, issued on April 22 by the Environment Ministry, would impact business of lakhs of industries involved in manufacture of fly ash.

Kumar, a lawyer, in his plea has alleged that the notification was detrimental to the environment, particularly top soil and natural resources, and small scale industries.

The petitioner, represented by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, has claimed that the Niti Aayog and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Industries had expressed reservations regarding the proposed revision to the fly ash utilisation norms, but without taking them into confidence the instant notification was issued.

The public response has to be sent within 60 days of issuance of the notification, Bansal told the court and added that the period would get over in June last week.

“Further, at a time when because of COVID, public at large is bound to remain at home only and further because of the fact that in many parts of the country postal services are not carrying on its activities, the idea of respondent that public at large shall comment meaningfully on the said draft notification is questionable,” it has said.

Besides extension of time for the public to respond to the notification, the plea also seeks that it be translated into all vernacular languages.

The petition has also sought creation of a mechanism so that Persons with Disabilities can have access to the ministry’s website to access documents such as the notification under challenge.

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