Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India, W.P. (C) 3747/2020 & CM APPL. 1342/2020 (30 June 2020)
The High Court of Delhi considered whether the government’s order extending the deadline for commenting on proposed amendments to a law should be read as the government says it intended or read the way some citizens interpreted it, which would allow for even more time than the government says it intended. The extension of the comment period came in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Court quickly found that “facial ambiguity in the notification . . . must be resolved in favour of the public whose comments are invited thereby.”
The Court also addressed the fact that the notification was only published in English and Hindi when the impact would be felt across the entire country. Due in part to the “far reaching consequences” of the consultation process, the Court ordered the notice to be translated into other languages and posted on several government websites within ten days.
This decision should result in the draft EIA law being translated into 22 languages.