By: Aayushi Mehta & Harshita Poonia


Environment is no one’s property to destroy; it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect.

Mohith Agadi

The Healthy Environment is the complete term encompassing all such normal and biotic variables that make conceivable to engage Right to life in obvious soul. The earth outfits all basics forever thus there has been a nearby connection between nature and people.

Without a characteristic and amiable condition, human presence is unimaginable on earth. Since days of yore, man had put forth cognizant and decided attempts to utilize the common assets and to alter his environmental factors so the antagonistic effect brought about by boundaries of temperature precipitation and predators might be diminished.

In the mission of making life more agreeable man has consistently abused the nature. Agriculture, industrialization and infrastructural advancements are the reasons for misuse of regular assets.

Human exercises make an assortment of wastes and bye-items which amass over some undefined time frame and may get harmful to the normally developing plants, creature and the humankind.

 Unpredictable utilization of composts and pesticides has added to the issue. The fast and spontaneous industrialization has brought forth plants discharging toxic gas vapor and harmful effluents, making life more troublesome on earth.

These things are continually making harmful conditions. It is additionally the obligation of the State to secure the earth as epitomized under article 48-A, 39 (e) and 47 of the Indian Constitution.

So as to manage these ever-developing issues, numerous demonstrations have additionally been ordered by the parliament however it is a court which consistently keeps beware of appropriate execution of these establishments and legal executive had assumed a significant function in deciphering the laws to ensure/ protect the earth.

The Indian Judiciary, the caretaker of constitution, has been giving focused light for such significant Right while translating the Constitution in certain way. Legal Chronology is filled with milestone judgments, which set out upon that Right to life far surpasses simple breathing and strolling and created Environment Jurisprudence.

Legal executive assumes the essential part in the insurance of condition. One of the primary developments in the Indian Judiciary is the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). It began in the year 1970.

Writ petitions as PILs have been acknowledged by the Supreme Court under Article 32 and Article 226 (Power of High Courts to give certain writs) of the Indian Constitution.

The PILs got established authorization in the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act 1974, which presented Article 39-A in the Indian Constitution to give equivalent equity and free legitimate guidance.

The PIL energized and influenced people (influenced by any undertaking), public minded individuals, willful associations, NGOs; Judges all alone, to begin without paying any court expenses.

Because of PILs, numerous milestone decisions are distributed. PIL of court shows an individual, specialists or Govt., to work ethically. The Supreme Court and the High Courts have been engaging natural petitions under Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution as establishing infringement of Article 21.

While engaging environmental suits by ecological NGOs and educated well known people like M.C. Mehta, these courts have passed milestone decisions, in this manner driving public bodies to make a move on solving ecological issues.

Provisions relevant to Environment in the Constitution

The provisions in the Constitution which deals with the protection of the Environment are as follows:

  1. Article 47: Duty of the State to raise the degree of nutrition and the way of life and to improve general wellbeing The State will respect the raising of the degree of nourishment and the way of life of its kin and the improvement of general wellbeing as among its essential obligations and, specifically, the State will try to achieve restriction of the utilization aside from restorative reasons for inebriating drinks and of medications which are harmful to welling.
  • Article 48A: Protection and improvement of condition and saving of forest and wildlife. The State will try to ensure and improve the earth and to shield the forest and natural life of the country.
  • Article 51A(g): to ensure and improve the common habitat including forests, woods, lakes, streams and wildlife, and to have compassion for living animals;
  • Article 32:Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by this Part: (1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed; (2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever might be suitable, for the implementation of any of the rights presented by this Part; (3) Without bias to the forces given on the Supreme Court by statement ( 1 ) and ( 2 ), Parliament may by law enable some other court to practice inside the nearby furthest reaches of its ward all or any of the forces exercisable by the Supreme Court under condition ( 2 ); and (4) The privilege ensured by this article will not be suspended aside from as in any case accommodated by this Constitution.
  • Article 226:  Power of High Courts to issue certain writs (1) Notwithstanding anything in Article 32 every High Court shall have powers, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercise jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibitions, quo-warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose (2) The power conferred by clause ( 1 ) to issue directions, orders or writs to any Government, authority or person may also be exercised by any High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the territories within which the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises for the exercise of such power, notwithstanding that the seat of such Government or authority or the residence of such person is not within those territories
  • Article 246: Subject matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States: (1) Notwithstanding anything in provisos ( 2 ) and ( 3 ), Parliament has restrictive capacity to make laws concerning any of the issues specified in List I in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution alluded to as the Union List) (2) Notwithstanding anything in condition ( 3 ), Parliament, and, subject to provision ( 1 ), the Legislature of any State additionally, have capacity to make laws regarding any of the issues counted in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution alluded to as the Concurrent List) (4) Parliament has capacity to make laws as for any issue for any aspect of the domain of India excluded (from a State) despite that such issue is an issue identified in the State List
  • Article 253: Legislation for offering impact to peaceful accords: Notwithstanding anything in the previous arrangements of this Chapter, Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body.

Interpretation of Constitution vis-à-vis Health & Environment by Judiciary

Goal 21 of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) emphasize on the actions for Sustainable Development. It depends mainly on the three arms of the government i.e. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.

Thereby, to ensure a Sustainable Development of the environment the Interpretation of Constitution towards Health and Environment and vis-à-vis by the Judiciary are as follows:

  1. The first constitutional step towards protection of the environment and to ensure a healthy environment was taken by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar (1991 AIR 420). It was under this case that water and air were considered important for life as referred to under Article 21 “Right to Life”.
  • The Supreme Court has also highlighted that protection of Environment is necessary even though a minimal economic cost is involved in its protection and ensure healthy life to all citizens – Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP (1985 AIR 652).
  • To ensure the best environment, the court in the case of Vellore Citizens cases (AIR 1996 SC 2715) for the first time introduced the concept of Sustainable Development i.e. to ensure healthy and safe environment.
  • Moreover, the Polluter Pay Principle by the Judiciary through the case of Vellore Citizen’s Welfare Forum v. Union of India (AIR 1996 SC 2715) was a major step towards reducing of pollution where the cost of polluting the environment is borne by the person who actually polluted it i.e. harmed it. It is an international environment protection norm to protect the environment from further damage and ensure healthy living.
  • The Doctrine of Public Trust which states that resources like water, air, forest cannot be made subject of a private ownership. It was also held in M.C. Mehta v. Kamalnath & Others ((1997) 1 SCC 388) that creating private ownership towards resources like water, air, forest etc. would be highly unjustified.
  • As water is the major source of survival of all it was stated by the judiciary that water is the basic need and is included within the Right to Life under Article 21- Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India & Others ((2000) 10 SCC 664).
  • Moreover, the Judiciary has also brought forward the concept of absolute liability. It was brought into force after the Delhi Gas Leak where the industry engaged in hazardous process is liable to compensate for all the damage caused to the environment and also to the persons affected. The introduction of this concept has brought changes in the laws related to compensation in India.
  • Likewise, the SC through the case of Ratlam Municipal Council v. Vardichand (1981 SCR (1) 97) stated that damaging of environment is to be considered as a Public Nuisance. As, it is the duty of the public authorities to get over it by way of filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as a medium.

Judicial Remedies for Environment Protection

The following are the Judicial Remedies available for Environment Protection:

  1. Writ Petition under Article 226 or Article 32 can be filed.
  2. The two core remedies for Environment Protection in India are tortuous remedy and statutory remedy. The tortuous remedy includes trespass, nuisance, negligence and strict liability while the statutory remedy includes any action brought under Section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 etc.


Though it can be said that the Indian Judiciary has played a vital role in protecting the environment, living in an environment where there is existence of competition for survival in the market.

There have been a number of market players who manufacture goods for the satisfaction of consumers. But the entire process of consumer satisfaction requires manufacturing of the products in the industry.

Thereby, one of the major reasons for our environment degradation has been the level of untreated air released by these industries in the air and also discharging of toxic water in the river, sea which results in the death of the sea animals.

Also, another reason for degraded environment is because of the carelessness of the people who litter in the public places. Though the Swachh Bharat Mission has been a success but there lies a great path ahead to reach a level in the air, water, soil quantity index where the level of pollution is minimal.


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