Republic Day reminds us of our moral obligation towards the protection of our environment as imposed by our constitution. Environment protection must be made a fundamental right. We all need clean air, water and disease free surroundings to live a healthy life.
Natural resources had been stored virtually untouched in the Earth for millions of years. But since the start of the industrial revolution vast amounts of these resources had been exploited within a period of just a couple of hundreds of years at unimaginable rates, with all the waste from this exploitation going straight in the environment (air, water, land) and seriously damaging its natural processes. But why the need for this over exploitation?
We always seem to need more. “Yeh Dil Mange More”!! . We need more power, fuel, food, infrastructure. Some politicians say that we need GM food to feed our hungry population. Some organization is planning to cover all our rivers and oceans with solar panels to get more power. Do we ever ask why we need more or what’s the limit. Sadly our constitution authors didn’t have the foresight to mention main cause of pollution . ‘Over Population’. Rest all clauses of environmental protection are there in our big rule book.
Indian constitution has lots of provisions to protect our environment and judiciary has a number of laws and bylaws in its hand to deal with such issues. In the Constitution of India it is clearly stated that it is the duty of the state to ‘protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’. It imposes a duty on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife’.
In considering the role of the judiciary in environmental governance, there are two issues that need to be considered. The first is the role of judiciary in the interpretation of environmental law and in law making and the second is the capability of jurists to effectively interpret the increasingly cross-linked issues brought to their attention.