Legislative framework and judicial craftsmanship


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INDIA employs a range of regulatory instruments to preserve and protect its natural resources. As a system for doing so, the law works badly, when it works at all. The legislature is quick to enact laws regulating most aspects of industrial and development activity but is chary to sanction enforcement budgets or require effective implementation. Across the country, government agencies wield vast power to regulate industry, mines and other polluters but are reluctant to use their power to discipline violators. The judiciary, a spectator to environmental despoliation for more than two decades, has recently assumed the pro-active role of public educator,1 policy-maker,2 super administrator,3 and more generally, amicus environment.

The flurry of legislation, lax enforcement and assertive judicial oversight have combined to create a unique implementation dichotomy: one limb represented by the hamstrung formal regulatory machinery comprised of the pollution control boards, forest bureaucracies and state agencies; the other, consisting of a non-formal, ad hoc citizen and court-driven implementation mechanism. The development of environmental law in the 1990s is largely the story of India’s judiciary responding to the complaints of its citizens against environmental degradation and administrative sloth.



When environmental laws were first enacted in the 1970s, there was little to distinguish the field of environmental law from the general body of law. For instance, when Parliament enacted the Water Act of 1974, it adhered to the pattern of numerous other Indian statutes and created yet another agency-administered licensing system, this time to control effluent discharges into water. A breach of the act invited judge-imposed penalties.

This was transformed, in part, by the spate of fresh legislation passed after the Bhopal gas leak disaster of December 1984. The new laws and rules are impressive in their range. They cover hitherto unregulated fields such as noise, vehicular emissions, hazardous waste, hazardous micro-organisms, the transportation of toxic chemicals, coastal development and environment impact assessment.

Equally significant, we find in these laws a governmental effort to supplement the old licensing regime with an array of new regulatory techniques. Public hearings under the Environment Impact Assessment Regulations of 1994 provide a forum to non-governmental organisations to voice their concerns to project proponents. Citizens’ initiative provisions, together with a statutory ‘right to information’, now enable an aggrieved citizen to directly prosecute a polluter after examining government records and data. The technology-forcing deadlines, issued under the central Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989, compel the manufacturers of petrol and diesel vehicles to upgrade their technologies (perhaps even re-tool their plants) to meet the prescribed emission standards by a particular date. Mandatory workers’ participation in plant safety and stringent penalties on high-level management for the breach of factory safety regulations are expected to reduce industrial accidents.



Another feature of the new regime is the vesting of enormous administrative power in the enforcement agencies. For example, a pollution control board may direct a polluter to shut down an offending factory or order the withdrawal of its power supply. Previously the board had to approach a magistrate to enjoin the polluter. This shift away from judicial to administrative enforcement of environmental laws was intended to improve compliance. Earlier, few agencies had the financial and legal resources to speedily launch prosecutions and battle the cases through multiple appeals. With the change in the enforcement strategy, however, the burden of initiating a court action now rests on an aggrieved polluter, who must challenge the agency’s order in court.

The new legislation has spawned new enforcement agencies and strengthened the older ones. Some of these agencies perform specialised tasks. Consider the authorities constituted under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1994. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is responsible for evaluating EIA reports submitted by project proponents. Generally, for large projects, the review is carried out in consultation with a committee of experts. Responding to a suggestion by the Supreme Court,4 the Union government has established a National Coastal Management Authority and corresponding state level agencies. Further, the past decade has seen a growth in the budget and staff of the central and state pollution control boards charged with implementing the Water and Air Acts. Consequently, there is a some improvement in the enforcement of these laws in at least some of the states and union territories.

Despite these initiatives, the quality of the urban and rural environment continues to decline. The root cause of this problem is the slack performance of the enforcement agencies. Several factors inhibit agency functioning, not least among them being a lack of budgetary support. The Bihar Pollution Control Board (BPCB), which administers pollution laws in the second most populous state of the union is continuously starved of funds. For several years the state government withheld funding, restricting BPCB expenditure to less than a third of its modest requisition.5



Depriving the enforcement agencies of funds has meant inadequate technical staff and supporting infrastructure for monitoring and control. Ten years after Parliament enacted the Water Act in 1974, the BPCB did not have a single laboratory or analyst to test effluent samples.6 Political interference7 and a lack of will to confront entrenched industrial and commercial interests also contribute to poor administration. Besides, it is widely perceived that the effectiveness of some agencies is curtailed by institutional graft.8 This laxity and indifference has invited judicial strictures from the High Courts9 and the Supreme Court.10



Recently, the Supreme Court lamented:

‘If the mere enactment of laws relating to the protection of environment was to ensure a clean and pollution free environment, then India would, perhaps, be the least polluted country in the world. But, this is not so. There are stated to be over 200 central and state statutes which have at least some concern with environmental protection, either directly or indirectly. The plethora of such enactments has, unfortunately, not resulted in preventing environmental degradation which, on the contrary, has increased over the years.’11

Although courts are ill-equipped to take over enforcement functions, the dismal performance of government agencies has compelled the higher judiciary to secure compliance through public interest litigations. Leading by example, the Supreme Court has persuaded the High Courts of several states to set apart a greater share of judicial resources to environmental cases.12 As a result of this drive, hundreds of factories have installed effluent treatment plants and there is a heightened environmental awareness among administrators, the subordinate judiciary, police and municipal officials, all of whom are involved in implementing the court’s orders. More generally, the courts have succeeded in building up a sustained pressure on polluters, where the pollution control boards had failed.

Although the expanded judicial role appears secure for the present, this trend is unlikely to continue beyond the near term. Court dockets are full and judges are conscious that systemic changes in a country as vast as India are unlikely to be brought about by judicial intervention alone. If judicial activism is to have a lasting impact, a political will in the form of substantial budgetary allocations for environment and increased community pressure on enforcement agencies, are imperative. Court-administered implementation can at best supplement, not replace, the formal agency-dependent enforcement mechanism.



The Indian Constitution is among the few in the world that contains specific provisions on environmental protection. The directive principles of state policy and the fundamental duties chapters explicitly enunciate the national commitment to protect and improve the environment. Judicial interpretation has strengthened this constitutional mandate.

In a case where the Supreme Court intervened to protect the forest wealth and wildlife from the ravages of mining in and around Sariska sanctuary in the Alwar district of Rajas-than, the court viewed its own constitutional role thus:

‘This litigation concerns environment. A great American judge emphasising the imperative issue of environment said that he placed government above big business, individual liberty above government and environment above all. The issues and concerns in this case far transcend the trivialities and inhibitions of an adversarial litigation. The issues of environment must and shall receive the highest attention from this court.’13



This approach has led the Supreme Court to derive, adopt and apply a range of principles to guide the development of environmental jurisprudence. Notable among the fundamental norms recognised by the court are:

1. Every person enjoys the right to a wholesome environment, which is a facet of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.14

2. Enforcement agencies are under an obligation to strictly enforce environmental laws.15

3. Government agencies may not plead non-availability of funds, inadequacy of staff or other insufficiencies to justify the non-performance of their obligations under environmental laws.16

4. The ‘polluter pays principle’, which is a part of the basic environmental law of the land, requires that a polluter bear the remedial or clean up costs as well as the amounts payable to compensate the victims of pollution.17

5. The ‘precautionary principle’ requires government authorities to anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental pollution. This principle also imposes the onus of proof on the developer or industrialist to show that his or her action is environmentally benign.18

6. Government development agencies charged with decision-making ought to give due regard to ecological factors including (a) the environmental policy of the central and state government; (b) the sustainable development and utilisation of natural resources; and (c) the obligation of the present gene-ration to preserve natural resources and pass on to future generations an environment as intact as the one we inherited from the previous generation.19

7. Stringent action ought to be taken against contumacious defaulters and persons who carry on industrial or development activity for profit without regard to environmental laws.20

8. The power conferred under an environmental statute may be exercised only to advance environmental protection and not for a purpose that would defeat the object of the law.21

9. The state is the trustee of all natural resources which are by nature and meant for public use and enjoyment. The public at large is the beneficiary of the seashore, running waters, air, forests and ecologically fragile lands. These resources cannot be converted into private ownership.22



Environmental protection and improvement were explicitly incorporated into the Constitution by the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act of 1976. Article 48A was added to the directive principles of state policy. It declares: ‘The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.’ Article 51A(g) in a new chapter entitled ‘Fundamental Duties’, imposes a similar responsibility on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.’ Together, the provisions highlight the national consensus on the importance of environmental protection and improvement and lay the foundation for a jurisprudence of environmental protection.23

Article 21 of the Constitution states: ‘No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.’ In Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar24 the court held that the right to life includes the right to enjoy unpolluted air and water. If anything endangers or impairs the quality of life in derogation of law, a citizen has a right to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. Expanding upon this theme in a town planning case, Virender Gaur v. State of Haryana,25 the court observed:

‘Article 21 protects the right to life as a fundamental right. Enjoyment of life… including [the right to live] with human dignity encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation, without which life cannot be enjoyed… [T]here is a constitutional imperative on the state government and the municipalities, not only to ensure and safeguard proper environment but also an imperative duty to take adequate measures to promote, protect and improve both the man-made and the natural environment.’



The framework of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 is similar to the one created by its predecessor, the Water Act of 1974. To enable an integrated approach to environmental problems, the Air Act expanded the authority of the central and state boards established under the Water Act, to include air pollution control. States not having water pollution boards were required to set up air pollution boards.

Under the Air Act, all industries operating within designated air pollution control areas must obtain a ‘consent’ (permit) from the state boards. The states are required to prescribe emission standards for industry and automobiles after consulting the central board and noting its ambient air quality standards.

Prior to its amendment in 1987, the Air Act was enforced through mild court-administered penalties on violators. The 1987 amendment strengthened the enforcement machinery and introduced stiffer penalties. Now, the boards may close down a defaulting industrial plant or may stop its supply of electricity or water. A board may also apply to a court to restrain emissions that exceed prescribed standards. Notably, the 1987 amendment introduced a citizens’ initiative provision into the Air Act and extended the act to include noise pollution.



The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 was the culmination of over a decade of discussion and deliberation between the centre and the states. The act vests regulatory authority in state boards and empowers these boards to establish and enforce effluent standards for factories discharging pollutants into bodies of water. A central board performs the same functions for union territories and coordinates activities among the states.

The boards control sewage and industrial effluent discharges by approving, rejecting or conditioning applications for consent to discharge. The state boards also minimise water pollution by advising state governments on appropriate sites for new industry.

Prior to its amendment in 1988, enforcement under the Water Act was achieved through criminal prosecutions initiated by the boards, and through applications to magistrates for injunctions to restrain polluters. The 1988 amendment strengthened the act’s implementation provisions. Now, a board may close a defaulting industrial plant or withdraw its supply of power or water by an administrative order; the penalties are more stringent; and a citizens’ initiative provision bolsters the enforcement machinery. The amendments introduced in Gujarat in 1988 have not been adopted by a resolution of the legislature under Article 252. As a result, the 1988 amendments do not apply to that state.26



In 1972, Parliament enacted the Wild Life (Protection) Act pursuant to the enabling resolutions of 11 states under Article 252(l) of the Constitution. The Wild Life Act provides for state wildlife advisory boards, regulations for hunting wild animals and birds, establishment of sanctuaries and national parks, regulations for trade in wild animals, animal products and trophies, and judicially imposed penalties for violating the act. Harming endangered species listed in Schedule I of the act is prohibited throughout India. Hunting other species, like those requiring special protection (Schedule II), big game (Schedule III), and small game (Schedule IV) is regulated through licensing. A few species classified as vermin (Schedule V) may be hunted without restrictions. The act is administered by wildlife wardens and their staff.

An amendment to the act in 1982, introduced provisions permitting the capture and transportation of wild animals for the scientific management of animal populations. Comprehensive amendments to the parent act in 1991 resulted in the insertion of special chapters dealing with the protection of specified plants and the regulation of zoos. The new provisions also recognised the needs of tribals and forest dwellers and introduced changes to advance their welfare.



The Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991 (PLIA) was enacted to provide immediate relief to the victims of an accident involving a hazardous substance. To achieve this object, the act imposes ‘no-fault’ liability upon the owner of the hazardous substance and requires the owner to compensate the victims irrespective of any neglect or default on her part. The PLIA stipulates a maximum compensation for injury or death at Rs 25,000 and limits compensation in respect of damage to private property to Rs 6000. The right of a victim to claim additional relief under any other law is expressly reserved.

The act obligates every owner to take out an insurance policy covering potential liability from an accident. Along with the insurance premium, every owner must make a contribution to an Environmental Relief Fund established by the central government. The fund is designed to provide relief to the victims of an accident. The principal administrative authority under the PLIA is the collector, who is required to verify the occurrence of an industrial accident, give publicity to the event, invite applications for compensation and award relief.

The National Environment Tribunal Act (NETA) of 1995 builds on the foundation laid in the PLIA and substantially alters the law of torts relating to toxic substances in India. NETA extends the principle of ‘no-fault’ liability, which first received statutory recognition under the PLIA, beyond the statutory compensation limits prescribed under the 1991 Act. NETA applies in cases where death or injury to any person or damage to any property is caused by an accident during the handling of any hazardous substance. Both acts adopt the same definition for the expressions ‘accident’ and ‘handling’.

NETA empowers the centre to establish a national tribunal at New Delhi with power to entertain applications for compensation, hold an inquiry into each such claim and make an award determining the compensation to be paid. The tribunal is empowered to make interim awards after granting an opportunity to the affected party and may determine its own procedure for processing the compensation claims, consistent with the principles of natural justice.



The National Environment Appellate Authority Act of 1997 requires the central government to constitute a national environment appellate authority for hearing appeals against orders granting environmental clearance in areas where restrictions are imposed on setting up any industry or carrying on any operation or process.

The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act of 1957 as the title suggests, is to promote the prospecting of minerals and the development of mines. Recognising the devastating environmental impact of mining activity in several regions across the country, Parliament amended the act in 1986 to introduce provisions which would require greater environmental sensitivity whilst conducting mining operations.

Section 4A permits government to terminate a prospecting licence or mining lease in order to preserve the natural environment or prevent pollution or harm to public health, monuments, buildings and other structures. Sections 13 and 15 empower the centre and the states to frame rules to restore vegetation destroyed by mining operations in any area.



Although the Indian Forest Act of 1927 embodies the colonial policies of the pre-independence era, it remains in force. This act consolidates, with minor changes, the provisions of the Indian Forest Act of 1878 and its amending acts. The 1927 Act deals with four categories of forests, namely, reserved forests, village forests, protected forests, and non-government (private) forests. A state may declare forest lands or waste lands as reserved forests, and may sell the produce from these forests. Any unauthorised felling of trees, quarrying, grazing and hunting in reserved forests is punishable with a fine or imprisonment, or both. Reserved forests assigned to a village community are called village forests. The state governments are empowered to designate protected forests and may prohibit the felling of trees, quarrying and the removal of forest produce from these forests. The preservation of protected forests is enforced through rules, licences and criminal prosecutions.

Alarmed at India’s rapid deforestation and the resulting environmental degradation, the central government enacted the Forest (Conservation) Act in 1980. As amended in 1988, the act requires the approval of the central government before a state ‘dereserves’ a reserved forest, uses forest land for non-forest purposes, assigns forest land to a private person or corporation, or clears forest land for the purpose of reforestation. An advisory committee constituted under the act advises the centre on these approvals.

The Factories Act of 1948 was passed shortly after the Bhopal tragedy and the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Shriram Gas Leak Case,27 the 1987 amendment to the Factories Act introduced special provisions on hazardous industrial activities.

The 1987 amendment empowers the states to appoint site appraisal committees to advise on the initial location of factories using hazardous processes. The occupier of every hazardous unit must disclose to her workers, the factory inspector and the local authority, all particulars regarding health hazards at the factory and the preventive measures taken. These preventive measures must be publicised among the workers and nearby residents. Every occupier must also draw up an emergency disaster control plan, which must be approved by the chief inspector.

The occupier is required to maintain workers’ medical records and must employ operations and maintenance personnel who are experienced in handling hazardous substances. The permissible limits of exposure to toxic substances are prescribed in the second schedule to the act. Safety committees consisting of workers and managers are required periodically to review the factory’s safety measures.

The Factories Act after its 1987 amendment, defines ‘occupier’ as a very senior level manager. Such person is held responsible for compliance with the act’s new provisions relating to hazardous processes. Non-compliance exposes the occupier to stiff penalties.



In the wake of the Bhopal tragedy, the Government of India enacted the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 (EPA). The EPA is an ‘umbrella’ legislation designed to provide a framework for central government coordination of the activities of various central and state authorities established under previous laws, such as the Water Act and Air Act. It is also an ‘enabling’ law, which articulates the essential legislative policy on environmental protection and delegates wide powers to the executive to enable bureaucrats to frame necessary rules and regulations. Since the time it entered the statute book, the act has served to back a vast body of subordinate environmental legislation in India.

The scope of the EPA is broad, with ‘environment’ defined to include water, air and land and the interrelationships which exist among water, air and land, and human beings and other living creatures, plants, micro organisms and property. ‘Environmental pollution’ is the presence of any environmental pollutant, defined as any solid, liquid, or gaseous substance present in such concentration as may be, or may tend to be, injurious to the environment. ‘Hazardous substances’ include any substance or preparation which may cause harm to human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms, property or the environment.



Section 3(l) of the act empowers the centre ‘to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution.’ Specifically, the central government is authorised to set new national standards for the quality of the environment (ambient standards) as well as standards for controlling emissions and effluent discharges; to regulate industrial locations; to prescribe procedures for managing hazardous substances; to establish safeguards for preventing accidents; and to collect and disseminate information regarding environmental pollution.

Section 23 of the act empowers the centre to delegate its powers and functions to any officer, state government or other authority. Section 24 of the EPA ensures that the provisions of this act and subordinate rules or orders override any other law. A broad rule-making power is conferred on the central government under sections 6 and 25.



The mass of subordinate legislation framed under the EPA by the Department of Environment, Forests and Wildlife of the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests falls under four broad categories: pollution control; hazardous substance regulation; environment impact assessment; and the protection of the coast and other ecologically fragile areas.

Pollution Control: Section 7 of the EPA prohibits the discharge or emission of environmental pollutants in excess of the prescribed standards. To implement this mandate, the government has framed the Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986 (EPR). The standards are set out in the schedules appended to the EPR. Broadly, there are three types of standards: source standards which require the polluter to restrict at source the emission and discharge of environmental pollutants; product standards, which fix the pollution norms for new manufactured products such as cars; and ambient standards to set maximum pollutants loads in the air, and to guide regulators on the environmental quality that ought to be maintained for healthy living.

Hazardous Substance Regulation: The Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, issued under the act in July 1989 have introduced a permit system to regulate the handling and disposal of hazardous wastes. The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules of November 1989 spell out the responsibilities of those handling hazardous substances (other than hazardous wastes). Under these rules, a hazardous industry is required to identify major accident hazards, take adequate preventive measures and submit a safety report to the designated authority. In August 1996 the central government framed the Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules. These rules require the centre to constitute a Central Crisis Group (CCG) for the management of chemical accidents and to set up a quick response mechanism termed as the crisis alert system. The rules also contemplate the setting up of crisis groups at the state, district or local levels to assist the administration in prevention and control measures.



Rules to regulate the manufacture, use, import, export and storage of hazardous micro-organisms and genetically engineered cells were issued under the Environment Act in December 1989. Under these rules a Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has been established in the Ministry of Environment and Forests to licence experiments in, and field trials of, genetically engineered organisms.

Environment Impact Assessment: The first attempt at a comprehensive statutory environment impact assessment (EIA) programme began on 27 January 1994 when the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a notification dealing with mandatory EIA. The notification man-dates a public hearing and requires the project proponent to submit an EIA report, an environment management plan, details of the public hearing and a project report to the impact assessment agency for clearance, with further review by a committee of experts in certain cases. The impact assessment agency is the ministry itself. The EIA regulations apply to 29 designated projects/industries which are enumerated in Schedule I to the notification.



In April 1997, the ministry took a first step towards decentralizing the EIA regulatory machinery by shifting the responsibility for environmental site clearance in respect of thermal power projects to the states. This notification describes the categories of thermal power plants falling within state government purview and broadly replicates the procedure under the principal notification of 1991.

Coastal Regulations and Protection of Specified Areas: In addition to the EIA requirements, specific prohibitions and regulations operate in designated ecologically sensitive areas. The widest in reach and scope are the Coastal Zone Regulations issued in February 1991. These regulations strictly control development activity including tourism within a strip of 500 meters from the sea shore, along the entire coast of India. While some activities such as setting up of new industry and the expansion of existing factories are completely prohibited, other types of commercial activity are restricted. Building activity is regulated depending upon the level of urbanisation and the ecological sensitivity of the coastal region.

In response to specific environmental threats, industrial activity has also been curbed by central notifications in some ecologically sensitive regions like the horticultural belt in the Dahanu region in Maharashtra,28 the Himalayan foothills around Doon Valley,29 the coastal Murud-Janjira area in the Raigad district of Maha-rashtra,30 the congested Antop Hill locality in Bombay,31 and parts of the Aravalli Range in Rajasthan and Haryana.32 Most of these notifications were issued in response to specific environmental threats to each region.

Most recently, in February 2000, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified new norms for regulating noise pollution. The regulations prescribed ambient levels of noise in the residential, commercial and industrial zones and regulate the use of loudspeakers.



The vast network of environmental regulations has little impact on the quality of the air or water. The leading environmentalist and advocate, M.C. Mehta, blames the pollution control boards and other bureaucracies for failing to enforce the statutes, many of which have been part of the Indian courts for decades. He argues that despite the statutory framework, there will be no visible results unless a political will spurred by greater citizen involvement forces the sub-competent bureaucracy to set about implementing and enforcing natural resource laws.33




1. E.g., M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1992 SC 328 (court directions to broadcast and telecast ecology programmes on the electronic media and include environmental study in school and college curricula).

2. E.g., S. Jagannath v. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 811 (directions prohibiting non- traditional acquaculture along the coast); M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1996 (2) SCALE 92 (court directions for the introduction of unleaded petrol vehicles).

3. E.g., T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad v. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 1228 (judicial supervision over the implementation of national forest laws); M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, 1992 (Supp.2) SCC 633 (directions in the Ganga Pollution Case to riparian industries, tanneries and distilleries regarding abatement of pollution).

4. Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India, 1996 (5) SCC 281, 303.

5. B. Desai, Water Pollution in India, 146 (1990).

6. Ibid. at 131.

7. Haryana Pollution Board Disbanded, Times of India, Delhi, 13 May 1992. The board was dissolved shortly after it served a prosecution notice on the chief minister’s son-in-law.

8. The Punjab pollution control board was superseded in 1996 after the state government received complaints regarding maladministration and harassment. An enquiry revealed that some of the board decisions were ‘highly suspect.’ G.S. Oberoi v. State of Punjab, AIR 1998 P & H 67.

9. Bayer (India) Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, 1994 (4) BOM.C.REP. 309, 330; Pravinbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, 1995 (2) GUJ.L.R. 1210, 1234; and V. Lakshmipathy v. State of Karnataka, AIR 1992 KARN 57, 70.

10. M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, 1998 (3) SCALE 602 and 1998 (4) SCALE 326.

11. Supra note 4, at 293.

12. For example, the High Courts at Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and the Gujarat High Courts have a designated ‘green bench’.

13. Emphasis supplied. Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar v. Union of India (Sariska Case), Writ Petition (Civil) No. 509 of 1991, Supreme Court, 14 May 1992 (M.N. Venkatachaliah and B.P. Jeevan Reddy, JJ.).

14. Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar, AIR 1991 SC 420, 424; M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (Delhi Stone Crushing Case), 1992 (3) SCC 256, 257; and Virender Gaur v. State of Haryana, 1995 (2) SCC 577, 581. See A. Rosencranz and S.Rustomjee, Citizens’ Right to a Healthful Environment, 25 Environment, Politics and Law 324 (1995).

15. Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (CRZ Notification Case), 1996 (5) SCC 281, 294, 301.

16. Dr. B.L.Wadehra v. Union of India (Delhi Garbage Case), AIR 1996 SC 2969, 2976.

17. Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (Bichhri Case) AIR 1996 SC 1446, 1466; Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum v. Union of India, AIR 1996 SC 2715, 2721; and S.Jagannath v. Union of India (Shrimp Culture Case), AIR 1997 SC 811, 846, 850.

18. Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum v. Union of India, AIR 1996 SC 2715, 2721; S. Jagannath v. Union of India (Shrimp Culture Case), AIR 1997 SC 811, 846; and A.P. Pollution Control Board v. Prof. M.V. Nayadu, 1999 (2) SCC 718, 733.

19. State of Himachal Pradesh v. Ganesh Wood Products, AIR 1996 SC 149, 159, 163.

20. Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (Bichhri Case), AIR 1996 SC 1446, 1468; Pratibha Cooperative Housing Society Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1991 SC 1453, 1456; and Pleasant Stay Hotel v. Palani Hills Conservation Council, 1995 (6) SCC 127, 139.

21. Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S.Muddappa, AIR 1991 SC 1902, 1911, 1924; Virender Gaur v. State of Haryana, 1995 (2) SCC 577, 583; and Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (CRZ Notification Case), 1996 (5) SCC 281, 299, 302.

22. M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath (Span Motels Case), 1997 (1) SCC 388.

23. M.C. Mehta v. State of Orissa, AIR 1992 ORI 225, 227.

24. AIR 1991 SC 420, 424. Also see M.C.Mehta v. Union of India (Delhi Stone Crushing Case), 1992 (3) SCC 256, 257; and Chameli Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1996 SC 1051, 1053. When deriving the right to shelter under Article 21 the Supreme Court held that this right would include ‘the right to decent environment and a reasonable accomodation to live in.’ Shantistar Builders v. Narayan K. Totame, AIR 1990 SC 630.

25. 1995 (2) SCC 577, at 580-581.

26. Pravinbhai J. Patel v. State of Gujarat, 1995 (2) GUJ.L.R. 1210, 1216.

27. M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 965.

28. Notification dated 20 June 1991. The orchards of Dahanu were threatened by the possibility of rapid industrialisation after a large thermal power plant came up in the area.

29. Notification dated 1 February 1989. Doon Valley was harmed by extensive limestone quarrying.

30. Notification dated 6 January 1989. A coastal strip of about 30 km. was threatened by several giant industrial projects. This notification encouraged environmentalists to press for national coastal norms which took final shape in February 1991.

31. Notification dated 9 February 1990. The residents of Antop Hill lived under a continuous threat from vast amount of hazardous chemicals stored in the neighbourhood.

32. Notification dated 7 May 1992. Limestone quarrying threatened the Project Tiger reserve in the Alwar district of Rajasthan.

33. M.C. Mehta, ‘Environmental Issues: the Challenges That Face us Today and in the Next Millennium’, Indian Habitat, 1 (2000).