HC cancels Blue Flag certification for Miramar beach
Observes that stakeholders have been denied the opportunity to file objections against the imposition of a ban or restrictions on the execution of processes or operations
PANJIM: In a major setback to the Goa government’s dream of giving Miramar beach international recognition, the Bombay High Court in Goa rescinded the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change notification naming the beach for the Blue Flag certification tag.
The beach was among 12 across the country, selected in the first phase in July 2019, for international recognition by the ministry. In October 2019, the High Court stayed the proceedings in response to a petition filed by a group of activists led by Kashinath Shetye.
The petitioners had challenged the relaxation of coastal regulatory standards for Miramar Beach to put in place the facilities required for international Blue Flag certification, saying the ministry had not explained the reasons for waiving the consultation process. compulsory public.
The Bench Division comprising Chief Justice Sunil Deshmukh and Judge Mahesh Sonak, admitting the applicants’ argument, observed that stakeholders had not been given an opportunity to submit their objections.
“In this case, the central government, by providing public notice under subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of rule 5 of the environment (protection) rules, deprived the stakeholders of ‘a valuable opportunity to file their objections against the imposition of a ban or restrictions on the continuation of processes or operations,’ the order said.
The notification allows several activities and facilities up to a distance of 10 meters from the High Tide Line, but the court noted that “in the absence of the contested notification, it is quite doubtful that several of the activities and facilities mentioned in the disputed notification could have been installed on Miramar beach or at least in the area up to 200 meters from HTL on Miramar beach and that too without prior authorization.
While awaiting this petition, the MoEF, replacing its 2019 notification, issued a notification dated January 9, 2020. The Court said that, however, there is no specific reference to beaches or beaches. islands identified as was the case with the notification dated July 12, 2019, the petitioners argued that the 2020 notification will include Miramar beach. Also in the new notification, the MEF waived the requirement for public notice.
The Court, while setting aside the 2020 notification, said: “The contested notification also seeks to exempt the prior authorization requirement under the 2011 CRZ notification. Therefore, unless there is a genuine public interest or an emergency that cannot stand the delay of even 60 days, the central government was not justified in waiving public notice under subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of rule 5 of said Regulation and to deprive stakeholders of the opportunity to formulate their objections.