The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre's stand on public interest litigation seeking the constitution of an expert committee for the realisation of the promises made by India at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2021.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla asked the Centre to file a status report on the plea by lawyer Rohit Madan who has asserted that it is the Indian government's duty to honour its international commitments.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, said that the Union India is alive to the issue raised in the petition and has already set up several committees, such as the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, which is focusing on meeting the international obligations.
In the petition filed through lawyer Akshay R, the petitioner has said that like several other countries, India made certain commitments during the 2021 UNFCCC in Glasgow also known as COP-26, which included reaching 500GW non-fossil capacity by 2030, fulfilling 50% of energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030, etc and the same must be fulfilled.
"These commitments were made before a formal international forum of which India is also a member and a signatory. These commitments involve a shift to renewable and green energy from current coal-based energy. All businesses in India will have to adjust their practices, and, make necessary changes anticipating the shift. The State is bound by the promises it made and must deliver on the same," the petition said.
It is the petitioner's concern that the commitments should not be lost with efflux of time and groundwork needs to be laid down to avoid any delay.
"To meet such deadline, which is only eight years away, groundwork needs to be laid down immediately and coordinated action has to be undertaken by various departments of Government of India... In view of the commitment made by India to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030 by 50 per cent and reduce the energy consumption and dependency on fossil fuels by 2030, a clear roadmap needs to be prepared now considering the fact that fossil fuels still dominate our energy needs," the petition said.
The petitioner has thus prayed for the constitution of a committee of eminent jurists, technical experts, management experts who can propose suggestions for taking all measures including any legislative amendments for following up on the promises made in COP 26. The committee should be tasked with laying out a roadmap for achieving the commitments and keeping an oversight on its implementation, the plea has stated. The matter would be heard next on July 27.
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