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Efforts To Safeguard And Ameliorate Environment By Parliament And Judiciary

The exorbitant catastrophe of the country is environmental pollution that may and is reducing the chances of stability in the human existence as well as unconditionally gifts of the nature bestowed on humanity. Persistence of constant industrialisation and enhancing urbanisation is leading to problem of staggering proportions.

The first international conference on human environment held at Stockholm addressed by than prime minister of India 1972. She was the first premier to address the conference the parliament introduced two exigent articles in the constitution of India by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act 1976 that includes article 48 A and 51 A (g) which are mentioned below:
Article 48 (A): protection and improvement of environment and protecting of forests & fauna- the state shall endeavour to protect and enhance the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the Country”

Article 51(A) Part IV A of Indian Constitution lays down certain fundamental duties of citizens of India which are given below:

  1. to obey the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem;
  2. To adore and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  3. To uphold and shield the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  4. To defend the country and provide national service when called upon to do so;
  5. Promotion of harmony and brotherhood spirit amidst citizen surpassing religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to repudiate practices insulting to the dignity of women;
  6. To value and secure the wealthy heritage of our blended culture;
  7. to protect and ameliorate the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
  8. To raise the scientific temper, humanism and the essence of analysis and reform;
  9. To safeguard public property and to withdraw violence;
  10. To strive towards supremacy in all fields of individual and collective activity so that the nation persistently elevate to much higher levels of endeavor and achievements.
  11. Each citizen who is either parent or guardian to render opportunities for education to their child between the ages of 6-14 years
Clause (g): to protect and enhance the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to compassion for living creatures. One casts duty on State, the other on us, the citizens of this country.

Our nation has been a scrivener to almost all the international declarations, conventions and environmental protocols. Consequently, many laws and rules were launched and few of them are extracted below:
  • The Water ( Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act , 1994
  • The Biological Diversity Act , 2002
  • The Air ( Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act , 1981
  • The Forest ( Conservation ) Act , 1980
  • The Environment ( protection ) Rules , 1986
  • The Bio – Medical (Management and handling ) Rules , 1998
  • The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 and so on.

The germane case laws are:

  1. Virendra Gaur VS State of Haryana,(1994) SCC 577
  2. State Of Himachal Pradesh VS Ganesh Wood products, (1995)2 SCC 363
  3. MC Mehta VS Union of India (1997) 2 SCC 653
  4. Narmada Bachao Andolan VS Union Of India (2002) 10 SCC 664
  5. Intellectual Forum VS State Of A.P ,AIR 2006 SCC 1350
And few others, the Supreme Court of this country ruled and widened the principle of sustainable development by hitting equilibrium between economic evolution and environmental shielding.
Hon'ble Justice A.R. Lakshamanan in Intellectual Forum Case Held as under:
“This Court has often faced situation where the needs of environmental protection have been pitched against the demands of the economic development. In reply to this hardness, policy makers and judicial bodies across the globe have produced the concept of “sustainable development”. This concept as defined in the 1987 reports of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Burndtland Report) it as “Development that meets the needs of the present without arbitrating the capacity of the progeny to meet their own needs. Returning to the Stockholm Convention, a support of such a notion can be founded in paragraph 13.”

It caught sight of ( came into observance ) , latterly , The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development , proceeded during the Earth Summit at 1992 , accepted the inclination of Sustainable Development in which India also participated.

The Court cleared that:
“what this court should follow is principal of sustainable development and discovers a good nexus between developmental exigency which the respondent asserts and the environmental degradation”

In Subash kumar v/s. State of Bihar (1991 ) SCC 598 the SC includes right to good health and pollution free environment within the ambit of Article 21 of Constitution of India and held that this Article prevents the right to life as life with human dignity. In fact, the protection and preservation of environment, Ecological equilibrium free from contamination of air and water, sanitation etc, without which the life cannot be pleased.

The SC restricted and ordered to demolish the construction, industries due to enhancing water and air pollution. Such cases are of great significance. References of some of them may be looked into.

One of the wonders of the world, THE TAJ MAHAL, became victim drastically that gradually its beauty. The The Trapezium Case insisted to protect historic monuments. SC directed to either close industries or shift outside the trapezium boundary or to shift to gas units.

In M.C Mehta vs. Union of India (1998) 1 SCC 471 (Known as Ganga Pollution Case), the apex court held to close ternaries operating without treatment plants and discharging their effluent in River Ganges in Kanpur and nearby places.

In Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra vs. State of U.P, (1985) 3 SCC 431 The SC ordered that evolution in progress cannot be permitted at the value of environment. Reinterring the principle of sustainable development of the Court displayed concern over unregulated exploitation of natural resources. The Court not only prohibited but also regulated the quarrying of lime mines though the same is required in several purifying and manufacturing units.

In T.N. Godaverman Thirumlkpad vs. Union of India, A.I.R (1997) SCC1233 The Apex Court gave definition of ‘forest' and restrained the non forest activities in forest area unless permission of central government is granted. The directions were issued to provincial government to ensure total cessations of any such unapproved activity. The SC within issued directions to regulate and maintains the use of forest produces.

Apart from this, there are provisions associated to environmental pollution given in Indian Penal Code.

Section 277 - Smudging water of public spring or reservoir.—Whoever by his will corrupts or fouls the water of any public spring or reser­voir, so as to render it less fit for motive for which it is usually used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may increase to three months, or with fine which may increase to five hundred rupees, or with both.

The Germane case laws

  1. Ramkaran lal VS Emperor, AIR 1916 Nag 15:18 CrLJ 650:40 IC 298
  2. Ramekwal singh VS State, AIR 1954 Pat 309 (310): 1954 CrLJ 1998
Section 278 -Making air harmful or poisonous to health.—Whoever by his will vitiates the air in any place so as to make it toxic to the health of persons in usual dwelling or bearing on business in the neighborhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may increase to 500 rupees.

The Germane case laws are:

  1. Suwalal vs. State , AIR 1953 Ajmeer 4(4):1953 CrLJ 1192
  2. Rahim Main vs. Emperor AIR 1929 Pat 113:30 CrLJ 556:116 IC48
  3. R. vs. Formosa & Upton ,(1990) 3WLR 1179 (CA)

The time has come when ‘WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA 'as well as the people around the globe should hold hands together to protect, improve and beautify the aesthetic beauty of nature i.e. the natural resources, we shall also require peaceful and meaningful movement to obviate the unregulated exploitation of natural resources and practise sustainable development for the preservation of resources for our progeny.

However, there is an exigency to ensure that the genre should not follow the previous trend of humiliating the nature. Easiest method can be enhancement of social awareness which apart from legal method we all can do. The sickness from pollution can be fatal. We should stop hampering us. Unless immediate and urgent remedial measures are taken to stop the environmental pollution a very bleak and terrible future awaits the humanity.

So we all must solemn that being a citizen of India and prior, child of god we need to save and respect the nature and again we can prove:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but will keep.........

Written By: John Keats (Endymion)

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