Thinley Namgay

To review, harmonise, and consolidate environment and conservation laws under a single umbrella act, the Office of Attorney General (OAG) yesterday constituted an Environmental Law Review Committee (ELRC) led by the attorney general.

The National Law Review Taskforce constituted in 2015 was tasked with reviewing all the existing laws, and had recommended in its report in 2018 to harmonise the conflicting provisions.

A press release from OAG stated, “The need to consolidate the environmental laws into a consolidated Act was one significant recommendation cited in the National Law Review Report.”

The report proposed the consolidation of the numerous laws in the country.

“Accordingly, the Parliament has amended many of these laws in recent years that include laws on fronting, child molestation, trafficking of persons, burglary, and the recent amendment to the ACC Act amongst others,” OAG press release stated.

The initial ELRC meeting was held virtually yesterday to discuss ideas and the way forward to execute this task.

The ELRC plans to complete this task within six months.

As per the OAG, the umbrella act for environmental and conservation laws is expected to eliminate competing authorities, duplicative roles and functions of each agency and supersede the provisions of each law against the other.

OAG also stated that an act for environmental and conservation laws will ease and facilitate the cumbersome and bureaucratic procedure with layers of committees, and simplify the complexity in the absence of a singular authority that provides for accessible environmental clearance.

“With the purpose to consolidate our environmental laws, the ELRC will endeavour its efforts to further a law that is simplified, cost-effective, accessible, user-friendly, transparent, and enforceable,” the press release stated.

The ELRC constitutes representatives from the National Environmental Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, International Affairs and Environmental Division, and Drafting and Review Division from the OAG.