Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has vide an Office Memorandum dated 10th September 2018 issued directions, under section 48 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (‘Act’) to the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA / Authority) for enhancing implementation of the Act.
These directions have resulted from the fact that it has been brought to the notice of the Ministry by the Authority that a large number of entities are not fully aware of the provisions of the Act but are desirous of complying with the same. Thus, there was a need to provide an opportunity to all such entities which were required to obtain prior approval of the Authority for undertaking activities as specified under sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Act, including cases that may relate to past, in line with the objectives of the Act and regulate them in a manner that enhances implementation of the Act.
Per the said Office Memorandum, the Central Government hereby directs “that all such cases, where prior approval was required but a person/entity has not obtained such approval, shall be heard by the Authority, which shall then pass appropriate orders with respect to acts that may have occurred in past, taking into account scientific evidence as well as any damage that might have been caused in furtherance of the powers available to the Authority under Section 18 of the Act, with the objective of ensuring conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use. The Authority shall consider all such cases on the basis of merit and shall ensure that only those cases are granted approval for future activities which would have otherwise been approved in the normal course, had the person/entity concerned applied in time for prior approval. The Central Government further directs the Authority to take decisions thereon within a period of 100 days from the date of issuance of this Office Memorandum, including course of action for matters related to past. These directions shall come into force with immediate effect. The Authority shall also continue to spread awareness about the Act to various stakeholders to avoid the occurrence of such activities.”
These directions are intended to facilitate and enhance implementation of the Act in public interest towards meeting the objectives of the Act, namely, conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from commercial use. In implementing these directions, the Authority shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and various pronouncements of Hon’ble Courts in similar matters, including judgments as cited in the said Office Memorandum.
Source: The Office Memorandum can be viewed here http://www.ipindia.gov.in/writereaddata/Portal/News/466_1_OM_Sec48_NBA.pdf
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