The preamble of Indian Constitution provide us a Socialist Society and which
provides environment Protection .And it is the Fundamental duties to all the
citizen of India to protect Environment .And the directive Principles in our
Constitution safeguards the right of welfare state. Healthy environment is one
of the basic principles of welfare state. The Constitution of India contains
specific provisions for environmental protection.
A rapid increase of global warming deforestation, air water and other forms of
pollution is posing a great threat to the environment and its living beings .The
degradation of the environment through a abundance of activities carried on by
individuals is deleterious to the health of all the living beings, including
human beings, plants and animals.
To live in an environment which provides a pollution free atmosphere isn't only
a basic right but also enhances human dignity.
Since the word Environment did not find its existence in the Indian
Constitution, it became essential to insert provisions in the constitution as it
is the supreme law of the land and such insertion thus, would convince be
fruitful to guard the environment from exploitation. And our Constitution of
India also furnishes various provisions for the protection of the Environment.
But to preserve and protect the environment it's also very necessary to bring
greater public participation, environment awareness and education.
When the COI was enacted, there was no specific provision, acts or articles that
deals with the protection of Environmental Law. Only in the preamble of the
Constitution of the India it's mentioned that India may be a socialist Country.
So, the state pays more attention to social problem in comparison to individual.
As because of Industrial revolution taken place in India. Environment pollution
taken as major problem which was considered as a social problem so the duty came
on state by the preamble to provide a proper slandered of living in a pollution
Development of environment protection in India can be divided
into 2 parts that is pre 1972 and post 1972. In the Pre 1972era, there were no
specific environmental policies and the planning commission did not attempt to
develop any policies to protect Indian Environment .and did not include the
right to a pollution free environment. More over the situation is changed after
the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm 1972 in
which the declaration on the Human environment was conceived. That was the
beginning of an environmental movement in India.
United Nations Conference On Stockholm Conference On 1972:
This was the first United Nation convention on environmental issues .It is the
foundation of environmental law around the world and India also. 25 principals
were elucidated concerning the environment. The most notable principles are:
- It recognised human rights as a neighbourhood of environmental
protection and thus the proper to quality environment may be a fundamental
right of a person's
- States have the duty to protect and restore the environment and to
develop such laws which protect the environment.
- Man has the fundamental duty to protect the forest, wildlife and its
- Non-renewable resources must be used in a restricted manner as to guard
these resources from exhaustion in the future.
Within quintuple years of Stockholm Declaration, Constitution of India was
amended to incorporate protection and improvement of Environment as
constitutional mandate. And the Constitution was amended by 42nd amendment in
1976 and by these amendment Directive principals of State policy has been
introduced U/A 48A. The protection and enrichment of environment is now a
fundamental duty as per Article 51A, under Constitution Act of 1976, Govt. of
India has found out a National Committee on Environmental Planning and
coordination. By this committee several programs like cleaning of rivers
including Ganga and Yamuna .And finally in 1986 government enacted the
Environment Protection Act.
Constitutional Provisions & Impact Of Indian Judiciary In Environment:
As we described earlier The Indian Constitution contains specific provisions for
environment protection under the chapter of Directive Principles of State Policy
and Fundamental Duties.
It comes under the directive principles of State Policy. It Says
that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to
safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. the article imposed duty on
state to guard the environment from pollution by adopting various measures.
In Sher Singh vs State of H.P, 2014
The general people of the country have a fundamental right to a sustaining,
virtuous and clean-living environment. The Constitution of India, in terms of
Article 48A mandates that the state is under a constitutional obligation to
safeguard and develop the environment and to safeguard the forest, jungle and
wild life in the country .By 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, the Parliament,
with an object of sensitizing the citizens of their duty, incorporated Article
51A in the Constitution.
Not only this, there is still a pronounced responsibility upon the Central Govt.
and the Concerned State Govt. in terms of Article 48A of the Constitution where
it's required to preserve and enrich the environment. It is true that Part III
of the Indian Constitution relating to Fundamental right does not specifically
devote any Articles relating to Environment protection but development of law
and pronouncement of judgement by the Apex Court take a crucial role to protect
the right of clean and pollution free environment. In Article 51A(g) it states
that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the
natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have
benevolence for living creature.
This article is similar to Article 48A, only
difference is it is the fundamental duty of citizens whereas Article 48A is the
duty of the state to protect environment. This Article Also says that we get a
pollution free environment, so it is our duty to protect it and improve its
A.I.IM.S Students Union vs A.I.I.MS,2001
Held that the duty of inhabitant of the state under Article 51-A does not
exclude the duty of the states.
In Sachidananda Pandey vs State of West Bengal & others
, 1987 , it is
held that whenever a problem of ecology is brought before the court,Art-48-A and
51-A(g) has to be considered .The role of the judiciary was also discussed. It
was emphasized by the Supreme Court that the duties under Article 51-A , even
though being a directive principles shall not be ignored by the Court.
In the State of West Bengal Vs Sujit Kumar Rana
, 2004 powers under section 52 of
The Indian Forest Act were challenged. The Court held that Article 48 and 51-A
were read together and these provisions have to be kept in mind while
interpreting Statutory Provisions of the Indian Forest Act 1927.
In M.C Mehta Vs Union Of India
1987 SCR (1) 819,AIR 1987 965 the Court held
that any enterprise that is engaged in an inherently dangerous activity is
'absolutely liable' to compensate all those affected by an accident . The main
feature of the judgement was the principle of 'absolute liability', in which no
exception (such as an act of god. And the enterprises that caused damage to
the environment had to pay compensation .
Article-21:- This Article Provides for the right of life and personal liberty.
It states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty
except according to procedure established by law
In Kendra vs State of U.P
, the supreme Court of India has held that pollution
caused by quarries adversely affects the health and safety of people and hence,
the same should be stopped as being Violating of Article 21.In this case the
Apex Court for the First time held that the right of environment is a right of
life and Personal Liberty which is safeguarded by Article 21 of the
In Subhash Kumar vs State of Bihar
, Supreme Court held that the right to get
pollution free water and Air is a Fundamental Right under Article 21. This laid
down the foundation of Environmental Litigation of India.
Article 19(1)(g)- it States that it is the fundamental right of Citizens to
practice any profession or carry any occupation, trade, business in any part of
the country with Some reasonable restrictions .Supreme Court provide upper hand
to environment Protection in comparison to freedom of trade . No one can
practice such trade activities which is hazardous to public health.
In Khoday Distilleries Ltd vs State of Karnataka
on 19th Ouctober,1994:
Apex Court clearly states that certain profession, occupation, trades or
business which are not in the interest of general public may be completely
prohibited while other may be permitted with reasonable restrictions on them.
Article 253 � This Article give power to parliament to create Law for the
country or any part of the territory for implementing any treaty, agreement and
Conventions with other counties .By this Article Parliament enacted various laws
for the protection of Environment like Water Act-1974,Air Act-1981, the
Environmental Protection Act-1984.
Article 32 &226:
According to these articles every citizen of India has a
right to approach before the Supreme Court or High Court through a PIL(Public
Interest Litigation) ,whenever there is a violation of fundamental right .Some
notable cases like M.C Mehta vs Union Of India
, Rural Litigation and Entitlement
Kendra vs the State of U.P
in which Apex Court passed a direction to the Govt.
to protect & preserve the environment ,maintain ecological balance. He also said
as per Article 51A(g) it is not only the duty of the Govt. to protect the
environment but also it is the responsibility of the citizen to do so.
Projects/Schemes taken by Government of India to protect Environment:
These are few projects or Schemes introduced by Govt. Of India in recent days to
Namami Ganga Program: In June 2014 with a budget outlay of Rs-20,000/- Crore , Govt. of India accomplish the Twin Projects of abetment of pollution,
conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga. There are four pillars of
- Swerage treatment infrastructure
- River Surface cleaning
- Afforestation and Lastly
- Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
Green Skill Development Programme: It's an ingenuity of Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF &CC) for Sill development in the
environment and forest sector to enable India's youth to get specialize and
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: On 2nd October 2019 Govt. of India was launched Swachh Bharat Mission throughout the India. It is the most significant
cleanness campaign by the Govt. of India. Govt. has urged to the people from
different section of the Society to have come forward and joined this mass
movement of cleanness.
From the above discussion it is very pertinent to said that Indian
Constitution, Indian Judiciary and Govt. Of India are so much aggrieved to
protect the Environment and to maintain its cleanness. The Indian judiciary have
not only created public awareness regarding Environmental problems but also take
pecuniary measures against the lethargic attitude of Executives relating cases
Beside theses approaches of the above mentioned
machineries there is no strict implementation of law regarding environment
protection and most of the peoples of India are not educated to protect their
environment. For these reason India is facing several Environmental disaster in
recent days .So there is an urgency need to protect the environment otherwise we
the people of India will destroy our self by our own hand.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Suman Saha, Advocate & Mediator
- Prof. M.P Jain , Indian Constitutional Law, 6th Ed, Lexis Nexis
Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur,2010.
- Environental Law By Dr. H.N Tiwari, Allahabad Law Agency, New Edition
Authentication No: SP127310088889-30-0921