The Union Government on Monday informed the Madras High Court that environmental clearance is not required for the Isha foundation for the constructions which have been made by the spiritual organisation from 2006 to 2014 in the Coimbatore district.

The bench was hearing the petition filed by the Isha foundation challenging a notice issued by the State government in 2021 for not obtaining the mandatory environmental clearance by the foundation as per the Union Government’s Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006.

Additional Solicitor General R Shankaranarayanan made this submission before the first bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar. 

The ASG submitted that as per the 2014 Environment Protection Amendment Rules, the government has given an exemption to hospitals, educational institutions, and industrial sheds and added that Isha is eligible for availing exemption on the ground that the foundation is promoting educational activities.

According to the Isha foundation, the 2014 Rules were merely an extension of the EIA notification issued in 2006.

Senior Advocate Sathish Parasaran appearing for the Isha foundation submitted that it started its constructions in 1994 itself and the Environment Protection Amendment Rules 2014 granted the exemption to educational institutions with retrospective effect and claimed that the act of the TN government is illegal.

Recording the submissions, the bench adjourned the matter to Wednesday for further arguments.