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Delhi High Court on Thursday issued Notice to Centre on a plea seeking modification/improvement of Guidelines issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Impact Assessment Division Vide Office Memorandum dated 01.05.2018 on the subject “Corporate Environment Responsibility”.

Corporate Environment Responsibility is a part and parcel of the broader concept of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Acting upon a plea bench headed by the Chief Justice Rajender Menon & Justice Brijesh Sethi issued notice to Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change to seek their response on a plea filed by Anup Kumar through Advocates Samar Vijay Singh & Amit Ojha.

Petitioner contended, Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 deals with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Concept of CSR as provided under the Companies Act comes into effect only in case of companies having operating projects and making net profit as also subject to other stipulations contained in the aforesaid act and rules. The office memorandum dated 01/05/2018 has been issued to cover those cases where a company which has been granted environmental clearance is yet to make any net profit and/or is not covered under the purview of the Section 135 of the Companies Act.

By way of present petition, the petitioner is seeking modification of Guideline No. IV to the extent that the Corporate Environment Responsibility activities should be spread out to entire State where a project is proposed to be developed instead of restricting them to project affected area (10 km radius) so as to allow Equitable development and distribution of resources in entire state; and the petitioner is further seeking modification of the Guideline No.V to the extent that it shall also include the other activities such as:-

  1. Activities where innovations are required:-

a) Nasofilters – As on today nasofilters that are available in market can filter particulate matter of size upto 2.5 micron. However the particles of size one micron or less are considered to be more harmful to human health for which no technology is available at present.

b) Alternative for Plastic bags  – As on today also plastic bags are widely in circulation for the reason because the cost of manufacturing the plastic bags are very low and is durable. Therefore technology innovation is required to minimize the cost and durability in development of Non Plastic bags.

c) Ways to Minimize Pollution caused by Automobiles.

d) Technological innovation is required to minimize Air pollution for example by way of “Artificial rain” as used in other countries.

e) Better management of the traffic.

  1. Donation through E-Platforms for philanthropic activities and environmental related research work/ activities for sustainable development.

Petitioner further contended, he is concerned about the increasing environmental pollution accompanied by threat to life, degradation of ecology and economic loss. It is duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures under Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution of India.

Next Date of Hearing is 7th Sep.,2019

-India Legal Bureau

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