File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Salient Features Of Sustainable Development

After the economy of the world got disturbed by eminent world wars, world communities went for more and more industrialization without concerning the utmost importance of nature and natural resources. The more industries lead to scarcity of natural environment which brought up the new concept of sustainable development at International level. This concept has acquired different dimensions in terms of economic growth, development and environment protection.

Phillip Sands in his famous book ,"International law in the field of sustainable development " gave four goals of sustainable development which are as under:
  1. Commitment towards the preservation of nature and natural resources. This duty is out upon both individual and community at large.
  2. Appropriate measures for exploitation of resources
  3. There must be the integration of environmental concerns to the developmental concerns.
  4. Just, Fair and equitable use of natural resources.

If we look at the history or the origin of sustainable development, it was formulated under the Stockholm Conference of 1972 which is also called the "Magna Carta on human environment". After twenty years, in 1992, the concept of sustainable development was given much significance in in Rio Declaration. Then ultimately in 2002, the world summit on sustainable development took place in Johannesburg, which focused on the collective responsibility of all the states of world in the economic as well as social development. It also ensure that such development shall not be carried out at the cost of environment at global level.

So, the main focus of sustainable development is to balance the environmental protection and developmental activities. For this purpose, certain measures or principles have been made which are necessarily to be followed. These principles have been carved out from ," Brundtland Report1992". Other documents like Rio Declaration 1992 and Agenda 21 have also given importance to these principles and implementation there off.

These salient features are as under:
  1. Intergenerational equity:
    It means that every generation is having a right to get benefitted from the natural resources that are there. But at the same time , every generation is under an obligation to preserve such heritage for the future ones , so that they may also enjoy the same.

    In State Of Meghalaya Vs All Dimasa Students Union , it was held that natural resources of the country are not meant to be consumed only by the present generation. These treasures of nature are for all generations to come and present generation owes a duty to preserve and conserve the same.
  2. Use and conservation of natural resources:
    This is quite similar to the above principle . It suggests that present generation should make limited use of resources. We , as present generation should not make use of resources in such a way that we become unable to use them in future. We must conserve both flora and fauna for the benefit of both present as well as future generations through proper planning and management.
  3. Environmental protection:
    It is an essential part of sustainable development. Because if there would be shortage of resources, it will undermine the development and without development, world economy would suffer. It is often the poor who suffers much from environmental degradation because unlike rich the poor cannot afford to protect themselves from contaminated water or anything like that.

    In Citizen, Consumer And Civic Action Group Vs Union Of India, where an NGO filed PIL for addressing the grievances caused by severe soil and water pollution due to the discharge of un treated sewage water from tanneries. Then the supreme court held that if the society has to prosper , it shall not be at the expanse of environment. Like wise environment shall not be protected at the cost of development. There must be balance between the two . They must coexist and must go hand in hand.
  4. Precautionary principle:
    As per this principle, substance or any activity is prevented from adversely affecting the environment which is posing a threat to the environment even if there is no link between that substance and environmental damage. This principle is based on sort of anticipatory action which is to be taken to prevent the harm. But the application of this principle is not easy.

    Sometimes it may result in irreversible damage to the environment and sometimes it may cause damage to economic interests. But it has been seen in most of the cases that the predominance is given to the environment over economy. In A.P.Control Pollution Board Vs Prof Mv Nayadu, it has been said that it is better to go wrong in taking measures for environmental protection rather waiting for the repercussions.

    Further this principle was recognized by almost all conventions at International level. In Earth Summit 1992, this principle was elaborated and was given much significance

    In Vellore Citizens welfare forum vs U.O.I(1996), the court held that precautionary principle and polluter pays principal are essential features of sustainable development. Also the document ,"caring for earth "produced by world conservation union in 1991 has recognized the same.

    The same principle has been applied in M.C.Mehta Vs U.O.I (1997 popularly known as Taj Mahal Case And Narmada Bachao Andolan Vs U.O.I..
  5. Polluter pays principle:
    It says that polluter is not only liable to pay the cost of environmental degradation to the individual, who got suffered but polluter is having a duty to compensate and restore the environment or ecology. This principle was introduced by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which was earlier known as Organization for European and Economic Development 1972.

    In Indian Council For Envirolegal Action Vs U.O.I ,where a notice was brought by the organization, where in the sufferings of people of Bichri village of Rajasthan were highlighted because of industries which were involved in manufacturing certain chemicals. With the result different toxic substances were discharged from the same. Considering this matter, supreme court held that those who are engaged in an activity which is inherently dangerous are absolutely liable for the consequences. They have to compensate the people of that area as well as they have to restore the environment back to its normal position.

    In Ishwar Singh Vs S.O.Haryana (1955), there were some stone crushers who were restricted from carrying out any sort of stone crushing activities within prescribed limit. Despite of the restrictions, they continue the same. It was contented that such activities were causing breathing or respiratory problems. So ,they were directed to change the place of business and to compensate those who get affected.
  6. Obligation to Assist and co-operate:
    Environmental problem being a global issue , can be tackled down only with the assistance and cooperation of all the states which are there. States are under an obligation to co-operate in good faith in the further development of international law in the field of sustainable development. This feature is laid down under principle 9 ,10 , 12 and 27 of Rio Declaration. Further, this principle says that Environmental problems can be carved out by the best model of the participation of all the people at different levels of the world.
  7. Eradication of poverty:
    It has been said , "the worst pollutant we face is the poverty". Brundtland commission has pointed out that it is the poverty which is responsible for over exploitation of resources because it increases pressure on ecology and results in depletion. It is one of the factors that reduces the tendency of people to use the resources in a sustainable way.
  8. Financial assistance to developing countries:
    As we know the fact that developing countries do not possess much technology and finances to sustain their life. They go for over exploitation of resources to satisfy their basic human needs. So, to curb such exploitation what is required is that developing countries must be provided financial assistance as well as the technologies from the developed nations must be transferred to developing countries to achieve the goal of sustainable development.
  9. Doctrine of public trust:
    This doctrine was propounded by the Roman Empire around 1500 years ago. In india, this doctrine has been evolved by the court practices and is also having tremendous significance in the Indian constitution.
In M.C.Mehta Vs Kamalnath (1996), This doctrine has been used for the first time. This case is also known as SPAN MOTAL CASE, wherein span motels Ltd. was the name of the company which has to construct a hotel( motel) on the banks of river( Beas) . They were allowed to change the course of the river by the ministry of Environment for their construction purposes. The company encroached upon certain area of land which also included in it the forest land.

The land was subsequently leased out to the company thereafter. Then their encroachment had a very bad impact on the Environment because For more than 5 months the Span Resorts management moved bulldozers to change the course of the river which later on caused floods in the river results in huge destruction of property. Then the court held that state is a trustee of all the resources which falls under its ambit and these resources are not for the commercial purposes of anyone rather they are of huge public importance. State is under an obligation to preserve, protect and prevent such heritage for the public use only and not for private purposes because these resources are common to all.

So, we have seen that there are measures that can be taken as preventive measures for the Environmental degradation. This is only possible if we take such problem into consideration and adopt a proper mechanism for their implementation. The most important thing which is required is the political will of the states to act in cooperation and coordination to resolve the challenges of Environmental protection and to protect the earth from further deterioration.

  1. Environmental law(2021), Dr. Paramjit S. Jaswal, Dr. Nishtha Jaswal , Vibhuti jaswal
  2. Dr.Vinay N. Paranjape, "Environmental Law" (2013) Central Law Agency.
Written By: Daima Khanam, Central University of Kashmir

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly