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Judicial Response to Environmental Issues in India

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Judicial Response to Environmental Issues in India

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  • July 2013
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Judicial Response to Environmental Issues in India

“No one can tell what the law is until the courts decide it. The judges do everyday though it is almost hearsay to say so, if the truth is recognized then we may hope to escape from the dead hand of the past and consciously mould new principles to meet the needs of the present.” C.J. Hamson

Introduction
Environmental protection during the last few years has become not only a matter of national concern but of global importance. It is now an established truth beyond all doubts that without a clean environment the very survival of mankind is at stake. Decline in environmental quality has been evidenced by increasing pollution, loss of vegetal over and bio-diversity, excessive concentration of harmful chemicals in the ambient atmosphere and food chains, growing risks of environmental accidents and threat to life support systems. This has drawn the attention of entire world community and therefore they resolved to protect and enhance the environment quality. How could the judiciary remain a silent spectator when the subject has acquired high importance and become a matter of caution and judicial notice. In a developing country like India, with uneducated masses, conditions of abject poverty, where the awareness of socio-economic and ecological problems in lacking, the judiciary has to play an active role to protect the people’s right against the anti-people order by infusing confidence in people as a whole for whom it exists, for as rightly put by Justice Lodha, “Judiciary exists for the people and not vice-versa.” Judiciary therefore cannot sit in silence and helplessly but must come forward actively to make good the deficiencies of law and provide relief wherever and whenever required. The Judiciary remained as a spectator to environmental exploitation until...

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