Environmental Laws in India
The human environment consists of both physical environment and biological environment. Physical environment covers land, water, and air. While, Biological environment includes plants, animals, and other organisms. Both physical and biological environment are inter-dependent. Industrialisation, urbanisation, the explosion of population, over-exploitation of resources, disruption of natural ecological balances, destruction of a multitude of animal and plant species for economic reasons are the factors which have contributed to environmental deterioration. One country’s degradation of environment degrades the global environment. The problem of environmental pollution has acquired international dimension and India is no exception to it.
Environmental laws in India play a major role as without these laws the people are difficult to be controlled. If penalties are imposed it is easier to control the people from harming the environment which is otherwise not possible.
Protection - The environmental laws protect the environment from any ill practices which are done by the human beings and which destroys the environment. Hence these laws are necessary so that environment remains protected.
Preservation - The environmental laws help in preserving the environment by imposing reasonable restrictions and penalties on any practices which can harm the environment or cause pollution.
Control- Environmental laws help in protecting the environment which is very necessary. The laws help in controlling or minimising the activities which can result in depletion of our environment or cause harm to the environment.
Environmental Law Precedents
The Bench of Justices Kuldip Singh and Sagir Ahmed held that the Government violated the Doctrine of Public Trust in “M.C. Mehta vs. Kamal Nath and Ors. (1996)”. The Himachal Pradesh State Government had leased out a protected forest area on the bank of river Beas to motels, for commercial purposes.
In 1996, the Supreme Court passed a judgment that would hold the State more responsible for maintaining natural resources.
The Right to Pollution Free Environment was declared to be a part of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in the case of “Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar and Ors. (1991)”. Right to Life is a Fundamental Right which includes the Right of enjoyment of pollution free water and air for full enjoyment of life.
The Apex Court in “M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (Taj Trapezium Case) AIR 1987” delivered its historic judgment in 1996 giving various directions including banning the use of coal and cake and directing the industries to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
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