the latest update on l’affaire adani ports, moef and sunita narain…

Adani Ports and SEZ has challenged the environment ministry’s decision to impose penalties on it for environmental violations, setting the stage for a faceoff between the government and the company, possibly even a legal battle. In a letter to the ministry dated October 14, a copy of which has been viewed by ET, APSEZ has challenged each of the seven penalties, saying the conditions have been either complied with or are not applicable to the company. The ministry had derived these penalties from the report of a committee, headed by environmentalist Sunita Narain, set up to probe persistent complaints of environmental violations at the Adani port, power plant and SEZ complex at Mundra in Gujarat. The report, submitted in April, found that APSEZ had committed serious environmental violations.

For context, see these stories. On the penalties, and why they were so bloody problematic. And, on the group itself.

in which the environment ministry decides to ignore its own laws…

By slapping a Rs 200-crore penalty on the Adani Group for environmental violations, the ministry of environment and forests may be breaking its own laws, say environmental lawyers. According to Delhi-based environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta, the two laws that define the penal framework for such violations — the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) — don’t give the ministry the powers to levy a fine. “They empower the ministry to start criminal prosecution in a court and to cancel an environmental clearance,” he says. “There is nothing in the laws giving the ministry any power to levy such a penalty.”

one of the defining traits of the upa regime has been its opportunistic relationship with the rule of law. this story, out today, again highlights that tendency.