Constitutional provisions for the protection of environment
India is the country of culture and tradition. Where, In India people treated Nature and Environment as God and they worship also like river Ganga as Maa Ganga which is delineate as a goddess. Now a days protection of environment is devise as an important subject in India due to number of industrialization and increase of human-needs. There was famous moment started by local people of village to protect tree or environment is chipko moment. In Chipko movement the villagers hugged with trees as a form of protest.
At the time when Constitution formed there was no well defined provision for the protection of environment. After the independence when the industrialist setup their industries environment is the main trouble for government. They cut forests, pollute lakes and rivers, pollute air and so on. After that government started many act like Wildlife Act 1972, Water Act 1974, Air Act 1981. Our Constitution is one of the most rectify Constitution. Our Constitution grown tremendously and alter over the year. And our Constitution of India also provides various provisions to protect environment.
It imposes duty on every individuals to protect environment in order to provide every human clean environment and a life with dignity and harmony. In 1976 Constitution of India amend 42nd Amendment, 1976 which include provisions for environment directly under fundamental duties which was Article. 51A and Directive Principle of state policy which was Article. 48A. But this is not enough government form a National Committee for protection of environment, cleaning of rivers like Ganga and Yamuna and many other Article. They face many man-made disaster like Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984, Ganga pollution case. There are many government organizations, NGOs starts for protection and cleaness of environment, river etc.
Article and Landmark cases for protection of environment
There are many articles and cases that deals the protection of environment and how to implement acts and law.
Article 48A for the protection of environment
Article 48A impose protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife. The state shall try to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
Article 51A(g) for the protection of environment
Article 51A is a fundamental duties. It shall be the duty of every citizen of India. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national Flag and the National Anthem. Article 51A(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures. The most famous case under Article 51A(g) is M. C Mehta vs. Union of India Hon’ble Supreme Court stated at least one hour lesson of environment in a week in all educational Institute.
Article 253 for the protection of environment
Article 253 gives the power to parliament to create law for the country. By this article government of India create many laws for the protection of environment like Wildlife Act 1972, Water Act 1974, Air Act 1981, Environmental Protection Act 1984.
Article 246 for the protection of environment
This Article divides the power between union and state to make laws for the protection of environment. The state make any laws for the protection of forests, wildlife, clean rivers and lakes in their area. It also provide the extra power to parliament to form law and by this water Act of 1974 enacted by parliament.
Article 47 for the protection of environment
Article 47 states that the state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and also the improvement of public health which includes the protection and improvement of environment as a part of its primary duties.
Article 21 for the protection of environment
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law, it is by the second method that the Hon’ble Supreme Court interpreted the right to life and personal liberty to include the right to a clean environment. The important cases under this article regarding environment protection is Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India and M. C. Mehta vs. Union of India.
There are some important judicial judgements by the Hon’ble Court of India.
1. Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar Air 1991 SC 420
In this case the Hon’ble Supreme Court the Court observed that right to life with pollution free and fresh water of Article 21 is violated. The Court assigned the municipalities and government bodies to protect and improve environment.
2. M. K Janardhanam v. District Collector
In this judgement the Madras High Court has observed that the phrase used in Article 48A and Article 51A. “Protect and improve “ which implies that to improve the quality of the environment and not just to preserve the environment. It gives direct power to state and citizens to protect environment.
3. T. N. Gadavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India Air 1997 SC 1228.
In this case the Court laying down for a jurisprudence of environment protection. After that every citizens of the country comes under fundamental duties to protect environment.
4. Rural Litigation and Environment Kendra, Dehradun v. State of Uttar Pradesh Air 1988 SC 2187
After the implementation of many laws and Acts. We still facing environment degradation. India face many environment problems like pollution, global warning, ozone depletion, water pollution forest deformation etc. We have face many environmental disaster like Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Ganga pollution case, Uttarakhand forest fire, Bihar flood, Kashmir flood. The reason for the environment degradation is people are not educated and aware about the environment protection. In 1984 M. C. Mehta vs. Union of India case Hon’ble Supreme Court stated to provide compulsory teaching lessons for one hour on environment in all educational institutions and the other reason is there is no strict punishment for the environment protection. We humans destroy environment by own hands. This can be down by implementing law with strict punishment.
Author: AKSHANSH HARSH,
Lloyd law college