Delhi HC Dismisses Haryana’s Plea against Maruti

Delhi HC has dismissed Haryana Government’s plea challenging its order restraining the state from prosecuting auto company Maruti for not having prior environment clearance (EC) for its unit in Rohtak.

While dismissing the petition, court opined that, petition filed by Haryana environment authority against Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, saying it appeared to be filed merely to “satisfy the ego of some of its officers”.

Maruti had first approached the court to restrain the Haryana State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (HSEIAA) from initiating action against it for not having prior environmental clearances for projects in the state, claiming that, it was not covered by the scope of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006.

While rejecting the plea of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw observed that the matter was being pursued “to satisfy the ego of some officers” and hoped it will not be pressed further. “We do not find any merit in the appeal which is dismissed.

Further, bench refrained from imposing any costs on appellant (Haryana SEIAA) and its officers who have filed this appeal in the hope that the appellants will not press the matter further which appears to being pursued to satisfy the ego of some officers of the appellants,” the bench said.

Rejecting the authority’s contention, the bench said, “No steps have been taken to elicit the comments of the Additional Advocate General who would have been in a position to inform on whose instructions he had made the statement before the single judge.” “The Bench is therefore unable to accept the said contention and which we are constrained to observe, has been taken in a very casual manner and not befitting to the office of Additional Advocate General,” it said.

The court also said, “We are unable to comprehend the argument of the counsel for the appellants that the consent earlier given on behalf of the appellant, of not prosecuting respondent 1 (Maruti), is contrary to the statute.

The counsel for appellants has failed to elaborate on the said aspect.” The bench also said that the stand taken by the AAG before the single judge was “a very fair and a correct one” and added “It appears that the state of Haryana at that time was more interested in the notification of September 14, 2006 as interpreted and enforced by it, being not challenged and the dispute being amicably settled.”