Environment and Development

Author: Ritwij Shrivastava

Designation: Student, Dr. D.Y. Patil Law College, Pune University

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Common ground between Environment and Development

There has been an unprecedented growth by putting the environment at stake. One of the evident example of it is the Aarey forest case where the Bombay High Court permitted the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) to cut trees for the construction of Mumbai metro. People protesting against the cutting of trees were also arrested. The matter was taken to Supreme Court and it had put a hold on the order.[1] Considering the current status quo of the world at large in my opinion we should come to a common ground where both environment and development are kept at a balance and are given consideration equally. There should be development in a way where there is no exploitation or over use of renewable and non-renewable resources and the environment should also be preserved in a way where the world at large doesn’t has to face the problem of under-development.[2]

If we discuss Article 48 of Part IV of the Indian Constitution which clearly says that the State shall endeavor to organize thing on modern and scientific lines for preservation and improvement of the environment. Also, if we refer to Article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution which talks about the fundamental duties of the citizens pertaining to protection and improvement of the environment. It can clearly be said that it is not only the duty of the State to protect the environment but also of the citizens at large. Having said that in my opinion the amendments that are brought in the Environment law should be brought keeping in mind the suggestions of the public at large as they are the actual stakeholders and public opinion should be given consideration for better outcome.

The concept of sustainable development though is acceptable which says that “development that meets the needs of the person without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland Report). The right to development leads to the exploitation and overuse of natural resources due to which the concept of sustainable development needs to be followed keeping in mind the future generation. This concept has been finalized by many international environmentalists and will surely help considering the current scenario of the environmental conditions. The concept of carrying capacity can also be discussed where the production and production capacities are kept compatible with the natural resources and consumption by the public. Carrying capacity is the characteristic of both the area and the organism where both can be supported by the amount of renewable resources.[3] The concept of rights and obligation should go hand in hand and the state should exercise the right of development keeping in mind the interest of public at large.

The right to environment is also similar to right to humanity and both should be given equal weightage and should be exercised with equal importance as right to environment is based on human existence.[4] If the human beings want to live in a healthy and safe environment then the surroundings need to be taken care off.

The Supreme Court of India always had a progressive approach and it has always stated that keeping the environment clean and healthy is a part of right to life. The basic structure of the Constitution talks about separation of power and it limits the jurisdiction of Indian Courts towards policy questions.[5] Supreme Court has always actively participated in environmental issues and has adopted the principle of sustainable development.[6]

It can be said in a justified manner that law is a living document and the interpretation of it should change with the societal needs and demands of the public and the current demand of the society pertaining to environment is sustainable development. The renewable and non-renewable resources should be used in a way keeping in mind the needs of the future generation and should not be exploited on the basis of whims and fancies of the current generation.

A few suggestions keeping in mind both environment and development that should be taken into consideration by the government while drafting guidelines pertaining to the environment law:

  • The government should promote institutional mechanism for allocation of natural resources.

  • The environmental guidelines should set standards for the waste material so that it is treated properly before being released into the environment.

  • There should be inclination towards the usage of eco-friendly technology.

  • Public opinion should be taken into consideration during the time of drafting environmental guidelines.

  • More emphasis should be laid on the general legislation for environment protection rather than laying importance on protection of any specific category of pollution.

[1] Breaking - Aarey Case : SC Orders Status Quo On Cutting Of Trees For Mumbai Metro Car Shed Nilashish Chaudhary 7 Oct 2019,, Accessed 30/09/2020 [2] Environment, Development and Law: Indian Perspective , by K.I. Vibhute 37 JILI (1995) 182, Accessed 30/09/2020 [3] Environment and Development , 3LW (JS) 22, (2002) By Justice S. Rajendra Babu , Accessed 30/09/2020 [4] Right to Environment Sustainable development as A principle of International law, 29 JILI 289 (1987),by Nagendra singh, Accessed 30/09/2020 [5] The Supreme court of India on development and Environment From 2001 to 2017, 6 ELPR 1 (2018), by Armin Rosencranz and Mukta Batra, Accessed 30/09/2020 [6] Vellore Citizens' Welfare Forum v. Union of India, (1996) 5 SCC 647 : AIR 1996 SC 2715, Accessed 30/09/2020







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