Plea by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai | Stopping projects in developing countries on climate change pretext wrong: SC

Not just developing nations, but developed countries too contribute to climate change, the Supreme Court said on Friday, adding that to ask developing countries to stop their projects on that ground is wrong.

“But only developing countries do not contribute to it you know. It’s also due to pollution by developed countries. Now to say developing countries must stop their projects is wrong,” Justice D Y Chandrachud presiding over a two-judge bench said while allowing a plea by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai seeking permission to carry out some allied works simultaneously with the ongoing construction of the Mumbai Coastal Road on land reclaimed from the sea.

The comments came as Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for an NGO, sought to oppose the civic body’s request saying the project will contribute to climate change. The senior counsel told the bench, also comprising Justice Hima Kohli, that the road will go underwater with time.

The court wondered how it could stop projects citing climate change. Justice Chandrachud pointed out that “it is the question of civilisation” and asked “how can we say India should stay frozen, that rural areas must remain rural?”

“If we need to remove poverty, it requires greater urbanisation. How can the courts step in and say because of climate change we will not allow?” he added.

Accordingly, the bench granted permission for laying out of gardens, parking spaces, laying of cycle tracks, etc. subject to assurance by the civic body to stick to Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines, avoid use of reclaimed land for residential or commercial development, and to secure prior sanction for any further reclamation of land. The court, however, denied permission to build amusement parks.

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