The honorable Kerala High Court Division Bench on Monday held that existing quarries in the state doesn’t require environmental clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests for its functioning.
The Kerala High Court clearly gave a positive nod to small scale quarries below five hectares to continue their operations.
As per the court, the National Green Tribunal’s order requiring environmental clearance is being made compulsory only for new quarries and quarries which have an operational area of more than five hectares.
Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice AM Shaffique considered a batch of petitions and public interest litigation before making the final judgement.
Most of these public interest litigation demanded the mandatory environment clearance for all quarries.
The Court also added that all parties should act in accordance with the Kerala Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2015.
The court asked the District Collectors to monitor the functioning of quarries. The Collectors should make sure that the Kerala Minor Mineral Concession Rules are being followed strictly in these quarries.
The Court also disposed the writ petitions filed by the quarry owners demanding Police protection. The Court asked the quarry owners to meet the District Collector, so that he will give the necessary clearance for functioning.
The Court also observed that the protection of environment is one of the sole responsibility of all Governments, and they cannot sacrifice this in the name of development.
License of suspended quarries will be renewed and they can continue the functioning with the permission of collector.