With the onset of 21st century raises slowly and steadily some major contention
with the development is to protect the environment. As both the development of
the economic resources or human life and the management of environmental
resources are interdependent and none of them is inescapable, development is
ineluctable as it furnish the meets and needs of all the people which is
envisaged by the constitution itself.
The second puts the obligation on the
shoulders of the present generation to sustain focus on necessitates for all the
times. Combining these principles is governing the legal policy of the
environmental law today. The harmonious concerns about the two gives us the
concept of sustainable development.
The term sustainable development is first
coined in Stockholm declaration of 1972, further the term was with time got
evolved and defined as:
Improving the quality of human life while the carrying
capacity of supporting ecosystem
in the caring for the earth
the word ecosystem is replaced by human-centric approach by establishing the
connection in economic social and environmental issues in Brundtland Report. The
step towards this human-centric approach lead us giving three fundamental
objectives in the Canadian workshop, 1990, these are:
- An economic objective wherein the production of goods and services. The
overriding criterion in fulfilling this objective is efficiency.
- An environmental objective wherein, the conservation and prudent
management of natural resources. There by overriding criterion was the
preservation and maintenance of biological integrity.
- Social objective wherein, the maintenance and enhancement of the quality
of life. Equity is the main consideration in meeting this objective.
The emphasis was placed on using the renewable resources in a way that the usage
does not diminish the scope for upcoming generations. It is well known that the
sustainable development also include speedy transformation of the technological
base in way it later help in reducing dependence on natural resource. Rio
declaration goes on further thereby was able to emphasis on social environment
over the physical environment.
The objectives of the Rio declaration bring world
power together for making the equilibrated society. But as seen from the above
the rules laid down for the sustainable development is one way or other puts a
negative Right on the sovereign to obligate the development which makes
international community a little less strenuous because then it will restrict:
- Right of sovereign over natural resource and
- Right to develop.
Nevertheless, the traces which provide these rights to sovereign or to human can
be seen into international law like in united nation declaration and in both
Stockholm and Rio declaration. Stockholm and Rio declaration are liberal in the
sense that they also takes about the quality of life to the extent that they
also meet development and environmental needs of present and future generation.
It is only in the resent times UNCED recognize the integration relationship and
separate the two objective clearly which is also accepted as a core principle of
sustainable development worldwide, further international institute of
sustainable development defines Sustainable development as a development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs.
A compromise have been made by the
developing countries which is yet to eradicate poverty and developed countries
between the right to develop and to promote sustainable development. But with
the later development and scholarly writing it can be mapped that maintaining
ecological integrity have given pre-eminence over the others namely, fulfilling
human necessity or social equity, this can be seen in constant capital stock
theory which says sustainability requires sagacious power relationship therefore
a reconsideration of cultural values are prerequisites. It was said that
appropriate philosophy is desideratum rather than changes in technology.
other hand development priorities in developing countries are considered as no
escapable, countries like India by the virtue of constitution promise
egalitarian social order which consists of equality, liberty, dignity and
socio-economic justice for all the section of society. The peremptory need is
unquestionably the socio-economic development; eradicate poverty, also the
threshold with comparison with the developed countries is more, but even though
sustainable development must be infused with the development.
abandonment of hydroelectric power plant can be assertive in diminishing carbon
monoxide and other harmful products, which essentially will lead to prevent
green house effect. The same can be replaced with the more sustainable energy
producing power projects like a solar or a biomass electric generating plants.
Environment concerns are also looked up by the India's Supreme Court, they have
placed Right to clean environment and wholesome environment under the umbrella
of Article 21 of the constitution, the supreme court is also in the view that
development and environmental protection is a long term goal of societal welfare
and progress, no government or human can achieve one by abandoning other.
doctrine of sustainable development in India was introduced by the case of Vellore
Citizen Welfare Forum v. Union of India.
Wherein it was ruled that precautionary
principle and polluter pays principle are the basis of sustainability. The
Supreme Court was also stuck with these two variegated principles as seen in
the Indian council for environ-legal Action v. Union of India
case wherein the
court held that development cannot take place at the cost of environmental
degradation and at the same time ecology and environment cannot shall not hamper
in the development.
Both should go simultaneously. There are several issue
arose in front of the apex court over time, let us look at some of the issues;
in Narmada bachao andolan where a writ petition was filed to challenge public
policy, the write petition was set aside on the reason that the massive amount
has already be spent on the said project and also the more of the project has
Now, as of this the question arose can environment norms be
override by people in the name of development or what is the threshold where we
can say no to the development?
, answer to this is given in the case of
Pradesh v Ganesh
wood products wherein Khair trees is used to make products it
was held that the deforestation of khair trees would have long lasting effect on
the environment and the present generation has no right to deplete the forest
cover and leave nothing for the upcoming generations. The court here considers
all the damage which are irreplaceable or which cause any imbalance in the
ecology as will be a threat to the next generation.
also cause threat to the inhabitant living in that ecology, many examples are
taken in the Rural litigation and entitlement Kendra v. state of Uttar
, where people engaged in the lime stone quarrying are uprooted, the
major drift happen in the case of Banawasi seva Ashram v. state of Uttar
wherein court only allows the certification for NTPC after tribal people
have give appropriate facilities approved by the court itself.
So, by this court
also took in consideration rights of tribal people who lived generations in the
forest, all the cases here is a example of overall development, there was no
fix criteria for the upcoming cases, the only view that is taken is; poverty is
the main cause of degradation of environment the development in the environment
will make people educated and prosper making new door open for opportunities
which is the way towards life with dignity.
The term sustainable development is a very dynamic, its meaning changes for the
developed and the developing countries, with time it is seen that the two
principles that are economic development and the environment protection cannot
be achieved by just working on one. It is seen as pointed out in the brutland
Report that sustainable development has four dimensions: society, economy,
culture and environment which are inseparable.
The article takes about both sustainability and sustainable development. Where
in sustainability is thought of as a long term goal (that is more and more
sustainable world). And sustainable development is a process or pathways to
Indian courts have consider both sustainability and sustainable development by
envisaging the view of future generation and means to achieve the case of
Banawasi seva Ashram v. state of Uttar Pradesh is the example of sustainable
development as they help the tribal people to rehabilitation.
Where in a
different approach is taken in Narmada bachao andolan that due to massive
construction and the large amount of public money that has already undertaken,
the judgment in these cases is somewhat satisfactory in the sense to provide
But when the things come to an individual I would say things get little wobby as
many a times it is seen that court took a stricter view like in the case where
if project is build upon then a specific species of the snail would get
endangered, the court in that case ruled that this snail has no biological
importance nor it help anywhere in the biological cycle, therefore the court
allow the project to built upon that land.
In my view every specie has a right
to live on the planet; also sometime natural resources are destroyed without any
important lead an example of this is also seen in the recent Buxwaha mining
case where 300 hectare of land is mined by the private player for economic
development, for this localities say that despite continuous mining operations
in this region, nothing has changed for them.
The area is still riddled with starvation and poverty. Those that live near
forest lands are reliant on them. Furthermore, mining activity in the area could
exacerbate the region's water shortages and environmental degradation. so
it is the need of hour to take into consideration both sustainable development
and the use of resource by reducing human needs and leaving space and resource
for the other living creature, further I would say there is the need of becoming
environment superpower rather to exploit natural resources to a large extent.
can be done by making soft laws like population controlling, as poverty is
considered as the source of environment degradation, poverty can be control by
controlling the growth of population, using the three R that is reduce, reuse
and recycle using renewable energy and other such methods.
- Report on the Workshop on Sustainable Urban Development, the Human
Settlement and Sustainable Development Committee accessed on
- GŁnther Handl, Declaration of the united nations conference on the human
environment (stockholm declaration), 1972 and the rio declaration on
environment and development, 1992, accessed on 11/09/2021 https://legal.un.org/avl/pdf/ha/dunche/dunche_e.pdf
- IISC, international institute of sustainable development, accessed on
12/09/2021 <https://www.iisd.org/about-iisd/sustainable-development >
- 1996 AIR 1446
- 2000 INSC 518
- 1996 AIR 149
- 1985 AIR 652
- 1992 AIR 920
- ASI begins drilling for gold in UP village after godman dreams of buried
treasure, accessed on 13/092021 https://www.indiatoday.in/featured/story/asi-officials-begin-drilling-for-gold-in-uttar-pradesh-village-after-godman-dreams-of-buried-treasure-214325-2013-10-15
- Down to earth, Buxwaha: Has India's government not learnt lessons from
COVID-19? Accessed on 12/09/2021