Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

Supreme Court: Persons can be tried despite not being named in FIR

The Supreme Court held that a person can be made an accused by the trial court in case evidence crops up during the proceedings even if he has not been named in the FIR or charge sheet.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam stated that Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) empowers the trial court to summon a person as an accused despite his name not being mentioned by the investigators in the First Information Report (FIR) and charge sheet. This new ruling will be helpful to solve the cases, especially the 2G scam and other high profile cases.

The judgment could have implications in some cases arising out of the 2G scam in which the trial judge had summoned as accused some corporate honchos despite them not being named by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the FIR and charge sheet. Yet, many businessmen have voiced their displeasure and approached the Supreme Court against the trial court’s summoning order. The apex court is yet to pronounce its verdict in the case.

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Supreme Court directs Centre to set up National Regulator for granting all Green Clearances

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to establish a national regulator for environmental clearances. The apex regulator will supervise grant of clearances and implementation of forest policy and environmental laws. The apex court has given the Centre time till March 31 to appoint the regulator and set up offices in “as many States” as possible under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

Why does the Supreme Court want a national regulator for green clearances? 

It has come to the notice of the apex court that the current mechanism under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification dated September 14, 2006, issued by the Government with regard to processing, appraisals, and approval of the projects for environmental clearance is deficient in many respects. It, therefore, felt the need for a regulator at the national level with its offices in all the States which can conduct an independent, objective and transparent appraisal and approval of the projects for environmental clearances which can also monitor the implementation of the conditions laid down in the environmental clearances.

How may this decision affect Centre’s power?

The granting of environmental clearances has so far remained a suspect due to absolute Government control over Forest Advisory Committees, entrusted under the Act to oversee adherence to environmental norms. The latest decision will not only deprive the Centre of its arbitrary power to take decisions on projects, but would also ensure that those found guilty of violations are awarded sizeable penalties under the “polluter pays” principle.

What is the reaction of MoEF over this decision?

The MoEF has strongly objected to this direction as it believes that it would not be feasible for a single authority with limited number of experts to look into the diverse and inter-linked nature of issues involved in the grant of environment clearances to various categories of projects. It further says that the volume of work being dealt by six expert advisory panels could not be done by single regulator, instead, it may result in financial pressure on the government exchequer which otherwise could be utilized to strengthen the existing regulatory mechanism.

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