April 20, 2012
As we head into Earth Day weekend, ELAW partners Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary have won a great victory protecting communities in India from short-sighted plans to build a coal mine. Earlier today, India's National Environmental Appellate Authority revoked clearance for the mine proposed for Raigarah District, Chattisgarh by Jindal Steel and Power.
The reason? The National Green Tribunal found that the public hearing held to allow citizens to comment on the proposed mine was a "mockery" and a "farce." According to the Tribunal's judgment, the meeting was held in a remote village far from the project site and was interrupted when local thugs began pelting citizens with stones and breaking chairs. Most community members left, but the District Magistrate continued to hold the meeting. Supporters of the project, who appeared to be bribed by the proponent, were the only ones left to give testimony.
After watching footage of the hearing, the NGT found it to be "a classic example of violation of the rules and the principles of natural justice to its brim." It was on that basis that the NGT revoked clearance for the project previously granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Congratulations to Ritwick and Rahul, who argued the case before the National Green Tribunal! Thanks for sharing this victory with the ELAW network and helping advocates raise the bar for public hearings around the world.