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Environmental Criminality

This research paper not only deals with the environment and social issues associated with them but an insight of environmental criminality in India and what actually is the cause of this ignorance towards the environment not only by the authorities but by the society as a whole itself.

We will be going through the evolution of environmental law internationally and how global development forced India to create a framework for a changing need of society. The constitutional aspects related to environmental law, legal rights, and penal provisions which deals with the environmental issues. The judicial aspect role and jurisdiction of the national green tribunal.

This research paper will also try to analyse and compare the national crimes record bureau's data with the prevailing condition in the other developing countries, and try to come up with an answer to why there is a very low conviction rate in India or is it happening in all the other countries as well and if so the serious question arises do we want to continue this way? Or there is a scope of making a difference.

The world is being dredged of its natural resources, with much of what we rely on for our livelihoods at risk from a new threat: environmental crime[1]

Environmental crimes are one of the most profitable criminal activity most likely the fourth largest crime sector in the world after drugs, counterfeit and human trafficking and growth of these crimes are astonishing. Criminal activity which involves exploitation of natural resources and bio- diversity are comparatively a low risk for offenders. Most countries do not recognise the environmental offences as a priority which results in the lack of appropriate and proportionate response. Environmental crimes impact the already fragile planate hence compromising the future health and wellbeing on an unprecedented scale as well as the present sustainable development goals needless to say the acceleration of climate change.

Brief History Of International Environmental Law

To understand the environmental criminality, we first need to understand how it developed and took shape over the years and what caused international community to get to the place where it is now. The protection of environment is now a global issue and is not just isolated to one nation, the collective approach of the international community over the years has helped in the development of laws and policies relating to the environment.

Development of these laws are directly related to the economic development of a nation. As economic development is secured through the increase in the agricultural and industrial production which causes disturbance in the ecosystem.[2] These processes of development have done so much of damage to the ecology that we have accepted it to a fact that the idea of development comes with the cost of environmental degradation.

Development is necessary but doing it at the cost of sacrificing the environment is not only dangers to the present generation but to the future generation as well. While the scientific and technological progress of man has invested him with immense power over nature, it has also resulted in the unthinking use of the power, encroaching endlessly on nature.[3]

The united nations conference on human environment and development at Stockholm in 1972 resulted in the adoption of a Stockholm declaration which is considered to be the magna carta of environmental protection and development. But The development of international environmental law can be separated into three distinct periods. Which are prior to 1972, during 1972 to 1992 and from 1992 to 2012.

Before 1972 environmental law had no discrete domestic and international statute of its own and there were very few multilateral agreements related to environment and majority of the countries lacked environmental legislation. Earlier prevailing rule of international law was more of a national sovereignty of a country over its natural resources and allowed countries to extract as many resources as they want within their territory.

Edith Brown Weiss in her evolution of environmental law[4] describes this period as early glimmers as only during this period the countries started drafting agreements related to the protection of biodiversity. Initially the focus of the states were to protect the environmental problems such as marine pollution from oil and civilian use of nuclear energy. States were not trying to punish those who depleted the environment but rather formed bilateral agreements and policies to curb the damage.

As at that time most of the pollution was caused by the state owed operations itself therefore there were no criminal legislation related to environment. It was not until 1960s when these concerns were broadened and few conventions were signed.

The basic development of the framework on environmental laws were started when the united nations conference on the human environment was organised in 1972, It was the first international inter-governmental conference to identify and address environmental problems. This conference is also known as Stockholm declaration.

The central issue was the potential conflict between economic development and environmental protection which resulted in the concept of sustainable development it was in this conference when the idea of sustainable development emerged it also laid down certain principles. For example, principle 3 of the Stockholm declaration says that the earth's capacity to produce vital renewable resources be preserved and wherever practical, restored. Principle 5 of this declaration states that non-renewable resources must be used in such a way that they are protected against the danger of their future exhaustion.

Moreover, the principle 11 of the declaration requires that the environmental protection policies of all countries should support and not to have detrimental effect on the present or future development potential of developing countries.[5] This document set the stage for the further development of principles of international environmental law. Apart from this there were a considerable number of other conventions, treaties, agreements and united nations commission reports on environment and development such as:
Brundtland commission report: our common future[6] defined sustainable development and brought into common use; the united nations conference on environment and development (UNCED) also known as earth summit was held with the view to provide principles of economic and environmental behaviour for individuals and the nations of the world community it also resulted in Rio declaration[7] and agenda 21 which intended to provide an agenda for local, national regional and global action into the 21st century.[8]

These initiatives established a foundation for linking human rights and environmental protection, declaring that man has a:
Fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.[9]

Despite these efforts the united nations though accepts that Human rights and the environment are intertwined; and human rights cannot be enjoyed without a safe, clean and healthy environment; and sustainable environmental governance cannot exist without the establishment of and respect for human rights, but fails to criminalise the offences against the environment.

In the joint report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL in 2016 stated that the environmental crime worldwide has accelerated at a phenomenal rate. It also identifies it as the fourth largest criminal enterprise globally, right behind drug smuggling, counterfeiting, and human trafficking.[10] We understand that the recognition of environmental crimes is relatively new in comparison to the conventional crimes it is also true that the crimes in this area is easy with low risk as there is not much serious deterrence against these offences.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the governing document which sets out the existing international Crimes. Initially Ecocide was also to be included as an international crime in earlier drafts, until it was removed in 1996. So, what is ecocide? According to Polly Higging ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of, or loss of ecosystem of given territory whether by the human agency or by any other causes, to such an extent that the Peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that Territory has been severely damaged.[11]

In other words, the criminalised human activities that violates the principle of environmental justice, such as causing extensive damage or destroying ecosystem or harming the health and wellbeing of a species is known as ecocide. The reason why ecocide was removed from the Rome statue still remains a mystery as no official reason or explanation was given by the authorities.

The only reference to environmental crimes is appearing in article 8(2)(B)(iv) of roman statute[12], which is very limited and can only be used in the international armed conflict and the wording of the article makes it even more defective to ensure a successful prosecution. Ecocide should be added to roman statue as it will help curtail the progression of climate change. In 2010 Polly Higgins proposed that the Rome statue be amended to include the crimes of ecocide.[13]

Though the proposal is still pending before the united nations. In December 2019 at 18th session of the assembly of states parties to the Rome statue of ICC, two sovereign states Vanuatu and the Maldives, in their official statements called for serious consideration of the addition of a crime of ecocide to the statue.[14]

The international community has evolved rapidly in accordance with the environmental crimes in recent years but there is a long way to go, just the acknowledgement of clean environment as a human right is not enough, criminal prosecution against those who cause the environmental crimes are also necessary not only limited to individuals or industries but against a country as well. Amending the Rome statue will help to take one step forward.

A Brief History About Environmental Laws In India

In India, the concept of Environment Preservation is as old as the nation itself. Since the beginning of our civilisation men and women have constantly strived to protect and preserve the Mother Earth. This ancient tradition of environment preservation even reflects in our modern-day India. India is the member of almost all the conventions, declarations, Conferences and Protocols dedicated to the protection of Environment Law. Some of them are the Stockholm Declaration, United Nation Environment Program, Rio Declaration, Kyoto Protocol etc.

Indian Judiciary and Legislation is striving to build good legislations backed up by judicial precedent so that a strong foundation for Environmental Law Jurisprudence could be construed.[15] International measures are accompanied by the efforts of national legislatures throughout the world consisting of enactment and remodelling of existing environmental laws. India has also enacted and constantly amended the existing environmental laws to suit the changing conditions.

Though there were several legislations related to environment existed prior to the independence but it was only after the Stockholm's declaration that India started the legislations related to environment such as the National Council for Environmental Policy and Planning was set up in 1972 within the Department of Science and Technology to establish a regulatory body to look after the environment-related issues.

This Council later evolved into a full-fledged Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The parliament also passed the various legislation related to environment such as the water (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1974, the air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981, and the wild life (protection) act,1972 ETC. These acts enacted for a wider purpose of protecting and improving the human environment, a goal laid down by the Stockholm conference.

The Indian judiciary has also played a very positive role in laying down the framework for the parliament to form policies and legislation related to safer and cleaner environment it is necessary to build a good legislation backed up by judicial precedents so that a strong foundation for the environmental law can be constructed.

In the case of Mc. Mehta V. Union Of India the first jurisprudence for the environmental law was laid down Supreme court in this case tried to reinstate the faith in the system of justice by rectifying the mistake done in Bhopal gas tragedy case, in this case the supreme court held that there has to be a synthesis of environment and economic imperative for the greater good of the people.

Industrialisation shouldn't mean genocide but human good. Then, time and again our Indian Judiciary has been implementing the principles of Environment Law in such a fashion that an Indian Jurisprudence can be devised for aiding the legislators to implement statutes dedicated to Environmental Law as per Indian conditions.[16]

In various cases like People United For Better Living In Calcutta V. State Of West Bengal the Calcutta High Court held that in a country like India the economic growth should be according to the principle Sustainable Development. A balance must be maintained between the economic growth and environment such that none of them deters the other. [17] despite the competent efforts of the judiciary the criminal prosecution of these cases are still hard non the less the conviction rate is low.

The Constitution Aspect For Protection Of Environment

It was only in 1976 when the term environment was introduced in the constitution by the 42nd amendment which provides an obligation to both state and its citizens to protect and preserve the environment.[18]

Article 48(A) states that:
Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country[19]

This amendment also inserted the article 51A(g) which says It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures[20] the parliament inserted these article with an intention to sensitise the citizens about their duty incorporated in article 51A of the constitution.

Among other things requiring a citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including the forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have a compassion for living creatures. The legislative intent and spirit under Articles 48A and 51A(g) of the Constitution find their place in the definition of environment under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The parliament enacted various laws like the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and other legislations with the primary object of giving wide dimensions to the laws relating to protection and improvement of environment.

It is true that Part III of the Constitution relating to Fundamental Rights does not specifically provide any Article specifically to the Environment or protection per SE. However, with the development of law and pronouncement of judgments by the Supreme Court, Article 21 of the Constitution has been expanded to take within its ambit the right to a clean and decent environment.[21]

Constitutional provisions related to fundamental rights are invoked in the cases related environmental problems. Here it is also notable that the principle 1 of the Stockholm declaration finds its reflection in the article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution of India protecting the right to equality, freedom of expression, and right to life and personal liberty.

Principle 1 of the declaration states that Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on 19-24 October 1992 in its third session on Industrial and Environmental Hazards and Human Rights regarded the anti-humanitarian effects of industries are not only causing the environmental degradation but also violates most of the fundamental rights of humanity which are the right to life, health, expression, and access to justice.[22]

The constitutional provisions related to part III and IV which deals with the fundamental rights and directive principle of state policy which are complimentary and supplementary to each other. Fundamental rights are the means to achieve the goals indicated in the part IV of the constitution and thus must be constructed in the light of directive principle.[23]

Article 14 of the constitution deals with right to equality and provides, that the state shall not deny any person right to equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Article 14 ensures that there is no arbitrariness in the state actions and that there is fairness and equality of treatment. In the case of Bangalore Medical Trust v. B. S Muddappa the supreme court stopped the arbitrary actions of the state to convert the public park into a nursing home.

The court held that the protection of the environment, open spaces for recreation and fresh air, playgrounds for children, promenade for the residents, and other conveniences or amenities are matters of great public concern and of vital interest to be taken, and preservation of open spaces for parks and playgrounds cannot be sacrificed by leasing or selling such sites to private persons for conversation to other user�[24]

Furthermore, the court held that the states action to convert an open space reserved under the scheme of public park into constructing hospital and to allot the site to the private person or body of persons for this purpose was vitiated by non- application of mind and was arbitrary and hence ultra vires and violates article 14 of the constitution.

This decision of the supreme court has followed in several other cases too to stop sates authority from any arbitrary actions. Hence, it was established that the article 14 can be invoked to challenge the actions of the government granting permission for activities with high environmental if it is granted arbitrarily.

Generally article 51A and 48(A) is read with article 21 which guarantees that 'No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law.[25]' This article is the core of all the other fundamental rights thus the Indian judiciary from various cases tried to establish environment as a basic fundamental right. Article 21 expands the scope of the environmental protection in India; thus, the Indian judiciary has broadband the concept of life to include clean, safe and healthy environment. This means the right to pollution free environment is the fundamental right.

In Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v. State of U.P also known as Dehradun quarrying case, the supreme court observed that lime stone quarrying pollution is adversely affecting the health and environment of the people and hence it should be stopped as it is violating the article 21. It was in this case when that the apex court held that the wholesome environment is a part of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution.[26]

Moreover, in the case of Subhash Kumar v State of Bihar the apex court held that the clean and pollution free water and air is the fundamental right under article 21. This case laid down the foundation of environmental litigation which incorporated the pollution free environment under the ambit of fundamental right.[27]

Apart from this the article 253 of the Indian constitution provides Parliament the power to make any law for the whole or any part of the country for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country[28]. This article was used to implement the principles of the Stockholm conference and to legislate on all the matters related to the preservation of natural environment.

Connecting fundamental rights and environment is necessary to explores and expand the horizon of environmental and fundamental rights legislation. We can ensure fundamental equality and adequate conditions of life in an environment that permits a life of dignity and well-being. Indeed, health has seemed to be the subject that bridges gaps between the two fields of environmental protection and human rights.[29]

Penal Provisions Related To Environmental Law

If we look into the history of legal provisions available for the control of environmental pollution Indian penal code, 1860 provides it's first attempted to curb the environmental related offences generally water and atmosphere through criminal sanctions. Chapter XIV of the Indian Penal Code under section 268A to 194A deals with offences affecting public health and safety. The sole purpose of Chapter XIV is to make those act punishable which pollute environment or threatens the life of the people.

Section 278 of Indian penal code provides: - Whoever voluntarily corrupts or fouls the water of any public spring or reservoir, so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it ordinarily used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months[30]

Section 278 of Indian penal code provides: - Whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.[31]

The above two provisions are related to environmental protection as it penalises the air and water pollution, however it has failed to achieve the objective because of the technicality of the laws needs to be satisfied every aspect of the offence as mentioned in the penal provision. The above-mentioned provisions do not provide criminal justices.

This is also a sad reality of our society that the people who violate the very environment we live in can walk freely even after causing dangerous health issues to the people at large and damaging the natural environment. Though the IPC provides protection of the environment but it has failed to create a deterrence in the society. The amount 500/Rs as a fine is very low for those commit such crimes.

The question here we have to ask our self that how much value is there for life that it can be sold for mere amount of 500/Rs and the offender would maximum have a jail time of 6 months. Does value of a life mean nothing in todays world? These sections and laws needs to be amended to keep up with the current situation. Environmental law violators are usually hit with criminal fines, probation, jail time, or a combination of these punishments. While jail time may be the most formidable punishment for individuals who commit environmental crimes, fines are intended to deter lar[32]

After the Bhopal gas tragedy, the government enacted the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Laws that were existed earlier to this enactment were mainly focused on specific pollutions such as air and water. The single statutory law to govern the entire problems related to the environment was only ensured through this enactment. It provided a framework for central government to coordinate various policies with state, established under previous laws.

The Law Of Torts And Environmental Pollution

Although the law of torts does not specifically deal with the environmental laws and pollution control. Still, the principle evolved out of certain aspect of laws.

In India most of the cases of torts comes under four major categories:
  • Nuisance:
    That which annoys and disturbs one in possession of his property, rendering its ordinary use or occupation physically uncomfortable to him.[33] A nuisance may be public or private in nature. Hence, any inconvenience caused due to smell, noise, fumes, gas, heat, smoke, germs, vibrations, etc. can be the basis of an action under nuisance.
  • Negligence:
    The omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those ordinary considerations which ordinarily regulate human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a reasonable and prudent man would not do[34]. In other words, specific tort on which a common law action to prevent environmental pollution can be constructed. When some damage, loss or inconvenience is caused due to lack of care which had to be taken then it amounts to be negligence.
  • Trespass:
    Doing of unlawful act or of lawful act in unlawful manner to injury of another's person or property. In the environmental related cases tort of trespass constitutes a deliberate attempt of damage to plaintiff's property.[35]
  • Strict liability:
    Liability without fault, or when neither care nor negligence, neither good nor bad faith, neither knowledge nor ignorance will save defendant. [36]This tort has significant relevance in the matters related to environmental pollution.

While the environmental law deals with the regulations which intend to protect the general public health, whereas the law of torts was bought in order to compensate for damages caused to individual. Also, dealing in environmental laws the burden of proof is on defendant while in torts plaintiff has the burden of showing the action caused damages.

Remedies Under Law Of Torts

In law of torts two remedies available; damages and injunction
A pecuniary compensation or indemnity, which may be recovered in the courts by any person who has suffered loss, detriment, or injury, whether to his person, property, or rights, through the unlawful act or omission or negligence of another. [37] the continuous efforts of supreme court for awarding when the environmental harm carrying on hazardous or inherently dangerous activity.

In the case of M. C Mehta v. union of India where the Oleum gas leak caused a significant environmental harm. The apex court held that quantum of damages awarded must be appropriate to the magnitude and capacity of the polluter to pay.[38]

Injunction- A prohibitive writ issued by a court of equity, at the suit of a party complainant, directed to a party defendant in the action, or to a party made a defendant for that purpose, forbidding the latter to do some act, or to permit his servants or agents to do some act, which he is threatening or attempting to commit, or restraining him in the continuance thereof, such act being unjust and inequitable, injurious to the plaintiff, and not such as can be adequately redressed by an action at law. [39]In other words, it is a judicial remedy which can play important role abating or preventing pollution.

Tort law has traditionally provided a blunt instrument for remedying harms to the environment. Indeed, the lack of a neat fit between certain harms to environmental interests and a remedy through the common law tort system has been a significant catalyst for the increase in environmental statutes and regulations over the past several decades. [40]Nevertheless, general tort law theories have been successfully applied to remedy numerous types of harm to the environment.[41]

Role Of National Green Tribunal

As the burden on supreme court increased and cases started to pile up the apex court time to time expressed the urgent need for an alternative forum to deal with the environmental cases without any delay. In M. C Mehta v. union of India, the supreme court first time indicted the need for separate alternative forums to deal with the environmental cases on a regional basis with two experts from environmental science research group and a professional judge[42].

It gives effects to the global declarations on environment and provides a specialised forum for effective and quick disposal of environmental cases. The parliament enacted the national green tribunal act in 2010, it confers NGT the power to hear complaints as well as appeals under various environmental laws. It follows the internationally recognised principle of sustainable development while issuing the order.

The act provides that the tribunal may, by an order provide relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damages arising under the enactment of this act. Which includes accident occurring while handling any hazardous substances or restitution of the environment for the areas as the tribunal may think fit.[43] This act was also a response to implement the apex court's pronouncement that the right to healthy environment is also a part of right to life under article 21 of the constitution.

Jurisdiction Of National Green Tribunal

the NGT has the power to hear all the civil cases related to the environmental issues and complaints that are linked to the implication of laws listed in the scheduled 1 of The National Green Tribunals Act, 2010, which includes:
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1947;
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Cess Act, 1947;
  • The Forest ( Conservation ) Act, 1980;
  • The Air ( Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1991;
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002;
However the NGT has not been vested with the powers to hear any matter relating to Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, The Indian Forest Act, 1927, Laws enacted by States relating to Forests, Tree Preservation etc. therefore any substantial issues related to these laws cannot be challenged before the tribunal. Apart from this the National Green Tribunal also enjoys the powers of suomoto.

National Crimes Record Bureau (Data Analysis)

In the year 2018 the National Crime Record Bureau (herein referred as NCRB) released yearly report from 2016 to 2018 related to the offences which are registered under environment related crimes. The report of the NCRB is not only shocking but also raises many questions instead of answering them.

To put it into the perspective let us examine the report. From 2016 to 2018 total number of cases related to environment were 4732, 42143, 35196 respectively from which 41.3% of the total cases were registered from Tamil Nadu followed by Rajasthan with 27.8% and kerela with 16.3% whereas not even a single case was recorded in north-eastern states with dense forest, biodiversity and mining-rich geology but what concerns the most is that the cases which were recorded as environmental offence were under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 which is not an act which primarily deals with the pollution or environmental degradation.

Tamil Nadu being a major contributor to the environmental offences in record only registered 1 case under The Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and The Forest Act & the Forest Conservation Act, 1927 and total of only 17 cases were recorded under The Air (1981) & The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 in all over India and only 85 cases under The Environmental (Protection) Act.[44]

This has been released when 30 cities in the world with most polluted air, 22 were found in India with Delhi being one of the most polluted cities in the world yet according to the NCRB'S report not even a single case was recorded under The Air (1981) & The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The data shows similar situation in with the Uttar Pradesh which is known for its polluted river bodies like ganga and Yamuna yet it recorded only one case.

The NCRB report poses a very disturbing figure as most of the states and union territory are not even reporting a single case related to environmental issues whereas 85.3% of the total cases in India comes from only three states and majority of these cases are recorded under the acts which not even deals with the actual environmental related issues. According to environmental performance index India stands at 177th rank out of total 180 countries.

According to world health organisation air quality and water quality of India in most of the parts are way (below) than the standard safety. Which forces us to question and doubt the NCRB report is to why the states are not reporting any crimes related to environment does it mean that in India crimes related to environment do not exist?, or we are not taking environment related offences seriously to that extent we are not even reporting it?

According to Prerna Bindra, former member, National Board for Wildlife the NCRB data is a good start, but is in no way an accurate reflection of either the scale or gravity of environmental crimes committed,

The laws related to environment has evolved significantly in last couple of decades as various international and national efforts and through social activism with strategic environmental initiatives. But despite these efforts the crimes related to environment is still not in control and according to the reports it's the 4th largest area of crimes in the world. The situation is much serious than it is being taken.

International criminal court should handle the crimes related to environment as mentioned in its initial drafts of the roman statute. The international community has evolved rapidly in accordance with the environmental crimes in recent years but there is a long way to go, just the acknowledgement of clean environment as a human right is not enough, criminal prosecution against those who cause the environmental crimes are also necessary not only limited to individuals or industries but against a country as well. Amending the Rome statue will help to take one step forward.

In India the cases related to pollution and environmental related problems are not seen as a criminal offence hence the offenders are not punished and the mere amount of compensation is not enough to create a deterrence in the society that will significantly drop the pollution and case related to environment.

The system needs to be changed with the ever-evolving society. It is the requirement of the time to criminalise the offences which harm the environment as it affects not just a group of people but humanity at large the government needs to realise the importance of a safe and clean environment for the citizens and whoever pollutes the purity of the nature needs to be behind the bars. Indian judiciary although has played a very vital role in laying down the framework for the environmental legislation.

The NGT is the most consistent and progressive environmental authority in India. Unlike the Supreme Court, the NGT does not routinely favour infrastructure projects, nor does it cause a delay in resolving the cases before it. It had redefined the role of environmental experts and the criteria to select such experts. It has been largely successful in implementing its orders, which usually relate to staying environmental clearances.

The regional green tribunals seem even more active and aggressive than the NCT in Delhi, as the regional judges are fearless and have no ambition for national positions. Finally, the NGT seems to have encouraged a number of lawyers all over India to specialise in environmental law.

[1] (UNEP Interpol report, 2016
[3] Shri schidanand Pandey v. state of Bengal, AIR 1987 SC 1109
[4] Edith Brown Weiss, The Evolution of International Environmental Law,
Georgetown University Law Centre (2011)
[5] UN General Assembly, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 15 December 1972, A/RES/2994
[6] Our common future�the world commission on environment and development
[7] UN Commission on Human Rights, Human rights and the environment., 9 March 1994, E/CN.4/RES/1994/65
[8] United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, 1992
[9] Principle 1, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 1972
[10] Nellemann, C., et al. (eds.) (2016), The Rise of Environmental Crime: A Growing Threat to Natural Resources, Peace, Development and Security, UN, New York
[11] Ari Bilotta, Should the Rome Statute Include the Crime of Ecocide?
(see also: -
[12] UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998
[13] Ecocide should be treated like a war crime, U.K. lawyer says, The Star,
[14] 18th session of the Assembly of States Parties opens in The Hague
[15] pratyush pandey, History of Environmental Law (19th may 2020)
(ref: -
[16] 1987 SCR (1) 819, see also AIR 1987 965
[17] AIR 1993 Cal 215, see also 97 CWN 142
[18] The Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976
[19] Article 48(A), the constitution of India 1949
[20] Article 51(g), the constitution of India 1949
[21] See also: -
[22] The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Findings and Judgements- third session on Industrial and Environmental Hazards and Human Rights on 19-24 October 1992 in Bhopal and Bombay, India.
(see also :-
[23] Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1993 AIR 2178, see also 1993 SCR (1) 594)
[24] (1991) 4 SCC 54
[25] Article 21, the constitution of India 1949
[26] 1985 AIR 652, see also 1985 SCR (3) 169
[27] 1991 AIR 420, see also 1991 SCR (1) 5
[28] Article 253, the constitution of india, 1949
[29] See also: -
[30] Section 277, Indian penal code,1860
[31] Section 278, Indian penal code,1860
[32] Mayank Shekhar, Law Of Crimes & Environment, (28th May 2020) (See Also :- Https://Www.Legalbites.In/Law-Crimes-Envioronment/)
[33] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary,1290 (11th Ed 2019)
[34] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary,1260 (11th Ed 2019)
[35] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary,1751 (11th Ed 2019)
[36] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 1667 (11th Ed 2019)
[37] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary,542 (11th Ed 2019)
[38] 1987 SCR (1) 819, See Also Air 1987 965
[39] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary,999 (11th Ed 2019)
[40] . Jamie Cassels (1989), Judicial Activism and Public Interest Litigation in India: Attempting the Impossible?
[41] M.Tony Mathew, L. Priyadharshini, Tortious Liability For Environmental Harm In India-A Review, International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Volume 120 No. 5 2018, 463-475
[42] 1987 SCR (1) 819, see also AIR 1987 965
[43] The National Green Tribunals Act, 2010
[44] National Crime Records Bureau, crimes in India 2018, volume II, Ministry Of Home Affairs
(ref link :-

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