Judgement of the National Green Tribunal regarding disclosure of information by MoEF on 2×660 MW imported Coal Based Thermal Power Plant at Perunthottam, Agara Perunthottam, Sirkali Taluk of Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu, 19/02/2016
Judgement of the National Green Tribunal (Southern Zonal Bench, Chennai) in the matter of S. Ali Hussain Vs Union of India & Others dated 19/02/2016. On 21-09-2015 NGT had directed the MoEF and CC to produce the entire documents related to 2×660 MW imported Coal Based Thermal Power Plant at Perunthottam, Agara Perunthottam, Sirkali Taluk of Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu consisting of EAC, CRZ including the report filed by the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority and all the minutes of the Committees along with the list of members of EAC and Coastal Zone Management Authority. When the matter came up on 30th November 2015, the Counsel appearing for MoEF and CC submitted that he has filed a memo dated 20th November 2015 stating that the MoEF had submitted the original files only for the perusal of the Tribunal and it may not be appropriate for the appellant and respondents to go through the files as it contains various sensitive documents and official communications.
NGT sets aside the contention raised by MoEF and says in its Judgement that "we do not see any reason to accept the contention raised by the MoEF that disclosing information may affect sovereignty and integrity of India or security, strategy or scientific or economic interest of the State or lead to incitement of an offence or affecting relationship with Foreign State. It is certainly not any personal information which is exempted. When this Tribunal is entitled to refer to the documents, it may even be necessary for the Tribunal to extract some of the information from the records. In the absence of any crucial issues covered under Section 8(1) (a) arising from the factual matrix of this case, we are of the considered view that the documents which are produced are not exempted from disclosure of information."