The preamble of the Constitution of India provides that our country is based on “Socialistic” pattern of society. The basic aim of socialism is to provide “ decent standard of life to all”, which is possible only in pollution free environment. Pollution is a social problem and the State is required to pay more attention to it.
DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY
Article 47 of the Constitution is one of the Directive principles of the State policy and it provides that the State shall regard raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties. The improvement of public health includes the protection and improvement of environment without which public health cannot be assured.
The Environmental protection and improvement were explicitly incorporated into the Constitution of India by the 42 Amendment Act(1976), which added Article 48A to the Directive principles of State policy and declares that,
“ the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life for the country.”
Article 51A(g) on “Fundamental Duties” imposed a similar responsibility on every citizen to protect and improve environment. It states, “It should be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.”
Thus, Indian Constitution became one of the rare constitutions of the world where specific provisions were incorporated in putting obligations on the “State” as well as “citizens” to “protect and improve” the environment.
Constitutional Provisions provides for local management of resources and are implemented through environmental protection laws of the country.
Case studies for Role of Judiciary
•KINKRI DEVI V. STATE :
A public interest litigation was filed in which it was alleged that the unscientific and uncontrolled quarrying of the limestone has caused damage to the Shivalik hills and was imposing danger to the ecology, environment and inhabitants of the area.
The H.P high court relying on previous judgement provided that if a just balance is not struck between development and environment by proper tapping of resources, there will be violation of Articles 14, 21,48A and 51 A(g) of the constitution. The court observed that natural resources have got to be tapped for the purpose of social development but the tapping has to be done with care so that ecology and environment may not be effected . The resources re permanent asset of mankind and are not intended to be exhausted in one generation. Thus the court issued a direction to the state government to set up a committee to examine the issue of proper granting of mining lease keeping in view the protection of environment.
AMBUGA PETROCHEMICALS V. A.. P. POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD.
The effluent treatment plant of the said industry was not in operation thereby causing water pollution resulting in danger of public life. The State Pollution control Board ordered the industry to close.
ØHereunder case was filed by Ambuga Petrochemicals as they considered the order as in-appropriate and severe.
ØIt was held by the court that the order of the board was neither dis-appropriate nor severe.
M.C MEHTA V. UNION OF INDIA (TAJ MAHAL CASE)
A Public Interest Litigation was filed alleging that due to environmental pollution there is degradation of Taj Mahal. According to the opinion of the expert committees, the use of coal by industries situated within the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) were emitting pollution and causing damage to the Taj as also to the people living in the area.
The court held that Taj apart , apart from being a cultural heritage is also an industry. The court followed the path of sustainable development and applied “ precautionary principle”.
Directions issued by the court :
All industries operating in TTZ must use natural gas as a substitute for coal, as an industrial fuel. The industries which are not in a position to use natural gas, must stop functioning in TTZ and they may relocate themselves in new industrial areas and the incentives were to be given for relocation.