A Critical Examination of the Environmental Jurisprudence of the Courts of India (J. M. Cha)




J. Mijin Cha


Human Rights, Environmental Rights, Constitutional Law, India, Right to a Healthy Environment, Jurisprudence


Since 1972, India has carefully crafted an extensive body of environmental jurisprudence. Through the work of the legislature, along with the judiciary, the importance of environmental protection is being considered in all aspects of the law. The judiciary in particular has been extremely active in developing this ideal. By declaring a fundamental right to a healthy environment and liberalizing locus standi requirements, the judiciary has become active and influential in this developing country.

However, in order to achieve the desired results, the judiciary often employs unconventional measures that go above and beyond traditionally accepted methods used by the courts. The result of this activism, however pure the intent may be, is a muddled body of case law that fails to set forth clearly articulated principles and ultimately results in disputes with other branches of government.

This article explores the development of environmental law in the Indian judiciary, focusing heavily on the extra-judicial measures employed by the courts. The first section addresses the evolution of environmental law in India and briefly summarizes current environmental legislation and constitutional provisions that provide environmental protection. It also addresses the concept of public interest litigation and the manner in which courts have expanded the doctrine of locus standi.

The second section discusses the reactions and responses of the courts to environmental litigation. This analysis is split into two distinct areas: procedural imbalances and substantive imbalances. The section on procedural imbalances analyzes the effect …


(2005) 10 Albany Law Environmental Outlook Journal 197


A Critical Examination of the Environmental Jurisprudence of the Courts of India