This article is written by AASHIKA AGGARWAL pursuing BBA-LLB (H) from AMITY UNIVERSITY, GURGAON.
Environmental law is the law of environmental problems. Environmental law is the collection of laws, regulations, agreements and common law that governs how humans interact with their environment. The purpose of environmental law is to protect the environment and create rules for how people can use natural resources. Environmental laws not only aim to protect the environment from harm, but they also determine who can use natural resources and on what terms. Laws may regulate pollution, the use of natural resources, forest protection, mineral harvesting and animal and fish populations. Environmental law is a term used to explain regulations, statues, local, national and international legislation and treaties designed to protect the environment from the damage and to explain the legal consequences of such damage towards government or private entities or individuals.
A great deal of environmental law enforcement takes place through administrative law. The EPA might investigate a violation and bring administrative action to their own officials. Those who are found responsible for violating the rules may appeal the decision to the courts. Most violations are a civil offence, but they are also criminal penalties for serious offenders.
Environment and life are inter-related. Human depends on earth natural resources, such as air, water and land because if any of the natural resources is not there on the earth then life would not be possible on earth to survive. The world environment day is celebrated on 5th June every year.
Some of the provisions of environmental law in the Indian Constitution are as follows under:-
ARTICLE 21 OF INDIAN CONSTITUION says that right to life includes right to pollution free environment. This is a fundamental right which says about the right to live with human dignity. For living with human dignity, it includes right to pollution free environment.
PART IV: ARTICLE 48(A) OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION says that protection for improvement of environment and safeguarding of forest and wildlife. For protecting the improvement of environment and safeguarding the forest and wildlife so that it maintains the good balance of nature, environment and human. This article was added in the Indian Constitution in the 42nd amendment. This article is a directive principle.
PART IV A: ARTICLE 51(A) CLAUSE(g) OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION says
that it imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment. This article was added in the Indian Constitution in the 42nd amendment. This article is a fundamental duty.
ARTICLE 253 OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION says that the parliament has the power to make laws for the country. By using the power of parliament, the parliament has enacted the environment protection act in 1986 under article 253 of the Indian Constitution.
International Terms under Environment Law
- CONFERENCE: a formal gathering to discuss a broad theme.
- CONVENTION: a meeting where a framework or basic guideline is prepared.
- PROTOCOL: the final convention is the protocol and it is the agreement where the parties sign and accept the legal obligation. Whoever is the diplomatic country they follow the conventions in agreement type and then they sign and then they accept all the legal provisions.
Some of the conventions and protocols are as follows under:-
- VIENNA CONVENTION, 1985- this convention was adopted for protection of ozone layer.
- MONTREAL PROTOCOL, 1989- this convention was adopted for reduce ozone depletion.
- BASEL CONVENTION, 1992- this was for trans- boundary movement of hazardous waste.
- KYOTO PROTOCOL, 1997- this convention was basically for climate change.
- CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, 1992- this convention was for sustainable use of biological resources.
- NAGOYA PROTOCOL, 2014- this protocol was for fair and equitable sharing of benefits from convention on biological diversity.
The United Nations is an organisation which works on an international level and to protect the human environment, the United Nations organised a conference at Stockholm in 1972. The program was set up in GENEVA in June, 1971. This was the first conference on international protection of environment.
DAMODAR RAO V. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, 1987
In this case, the Apex Court held that polluting the environment mounts to violation to the right to life under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The article 21 of Constitution talks about the right to life and right to life includes right to get the pollution-free environment, so in this case, the Supreme Court said that polluting the environment is a violation to the right to life under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This statement was med in Damodar Rao case.
SUBHASH KUMAR V. STATE OF BIHAR
In this case, the Supreme Court said that it is the right to get pollution free water and pollution-free air is a fundamental right guaranteed under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This is a fundamental right as per the Constitution of India.
M.C. MEHTA V. KAMALNATH AND OTHERS, 2000
There is also another case of M.C MEHTA in the year 1997 and there that case talks about sustainable development but this is the case which relates to a fundamental right. In this case, the Supreme Court awarded damages not only for the restoration of ecological balance but also for the victim who has suffered for disturbance for violation of article 21 under the Indian Constitution.
SHER SINGH V. STATE OF HARYANA AND PUNJAB, 2014
In this case, the Supreme Court held that the state is under constitutional obligation to protect and improve the environment as per article 48(A) and article 51(A)(g) of Indian Constitution.
STATE OF WEST BENGAL V. SUJIT KUMAR RANA, 2004
In this case, the Supreme Court is saying that all provisions of articles 48 (A) and 51 (A)(g) should be kept in mind while interpreting any statutory provision.
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