LITIGATION SUMMARY

DSK Legal advised, assisted and represented the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (“CREDAI”) before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1394 of 2023 (Vanshakti Vs UOI) and successfully sought a modification/clarification of the Interim Order dated January 2, 2024 bringing significant respite to real estate developers across the country.

Brief Background:

The Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (“MoEF & CC”) issued an Office Memorandum dated July 7, 2021 (“the OM”) laying down a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (“SoP”) for dealing with “violation” and “non-compliance cases”, under which developers have been applying for the grant of Environmental Clearances (“ECs”) for their projects.

Vanshakti (an NGO) had challenged the OM before the Hon’ble Supreme Court (“SC”) by filing a Writ Petition (Civil) No.1394 of 2023 (‘the Writ”) in which the SC had stayed the OM by an order dated January 2, 2024 (“Interim Order”).

Pursuant to the Interim Order, MoEF & CC issued an Office memorandum dated January 8, 2024 whereby all proposals under the OM were kept in abeyance (“January 2024 OM”). Thus, in view of the Interim Order no proposals under the OM could be considered by the competent authorities i.e. the State Environment Appraisal Committees (SEACs) and State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) across the country.

In view of the Interim Order, CREDAI, in the interest of its members, filed an application for intervention and modification of the Interim Order since all the proposals of its members under the OM were being deferred / rejected by the SEACs and SEIAAs.

Order:

By an order dated February 2, 2024 passed in the Application filed by CREDAI (“Clarification Order”) the Hon’ble Supreme Court has clarified the Interim Order and stated that the Interim Order will not come in the way of competent authorities considering proposals for modifications / alterations in the ECs if the area of the projects had a prior valid EC prior to July 7, 2021 and such applications would be strictly considered in accordance with law as it existed prior to July 7, 2021.

Significance:

The Clarification Order has brought significant respite to real estate developers across the country as a large number of projects under the OM had come to an indefinite standstill.

 The DSK Legal Team comprised of Mr. Anuj Savla (Associate), Ms. Saakshi Saboo (Associate), Mr. Himanshu Vij (Principal Associate), Mr. Akhil Anand (Partner) and Mr. Samit Shukla (Partner).

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