The Supreme Court on Friday refused to intervene and direct the government to create an independent Indian Environment Service in the “All India Service cadre”.
A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul declined a petition by advocate Samar Vijay Singh for a specialised environment service in the lines of one recommended by the T.S.R. Subramanian Committee report in 2014.
“There cannot be a mandamus to implement a report,” the Bench observed orally.
The petitioner said the petition should be viewed in the light of the larger issue of curbing environmental degradation. He submitted that even the National Green Tribunal had suggested the formation of a specialised all India service.
Perusing government records, the court pointed out that the Centre has already responded that it would not be taking any steps forward in this regard.
At one point, when the counsel became increasingly insistent, the court said that “political activity” should be done outside the courtroom and not inside.
The court however said nothing precluded the government for considering the contents of Mr. Singh’s petition and take an appropriate view.
The Subramanian Committee, constituted by the Environment Ministry, in its report on November 18, 2014, had categorically recorded that the necessary institutional framework needs to be created, building on the existing systems, to meet future ecological demands.
“While India has a strong environmental policy and legislative framework, much of the problem relates to weak implementation of the various acts and the rules thereunder. Conservation advocates, project proponents and judiciary – none is satisfied with current environmental governance and the policy tools currently deployed in the management of the sector,” the report had highlighted.
The Committee had recommended the creation of a new All-India service as “Indian Environment Service”.
Mr. Singh has also sought a direction from the court to the government to set up an Indian environmental service academy to train officers for environmental law enforcement. Eom