INTRODUCTION:Legislative of Environment were added in the India

INTRODUCTION:Legislative fight against pollution continued in independent India. Now there is a host of legislation in India aimed at protecting the environment from pollution and maintaining the ecological balance. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 is one major Act for environmental protection. Audiovisual media has been used by the Government of India to educate the people and arouse their consciousness for the protection of environment.In February 1971, the University Grants Commission (India), in collaboration with other organizations, conducted a conference on the development of environmental studies in the Indian Universities. The consensus that emerged at the conference was that ecology and environmental issues should form part of the courses of study at all levels.The then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi, in the first International Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972, voiced deep concern about the degradation of the environment and eco-imbalances. She also emphasized that population and poverty are inter-related problems and there must be an integrated approach to deal with them. India was also one of the signatories of the Stockholm Declaration which is known as Magna Carta on human environment.After the completition of Stockholm Conference, many Acts were introduced i.e. Wildlife Act, 1972; Water Act, 1974; Air Act, 1981 etc. This leads to amendment in the Indian Constitution within five years of the conference. Topics such as Protection and Improvement of Environment were added in the India Constitution. The protection and improvement of environment is now a fundamental duty under Constitution Act of 1976. Govt., of India has set up a National Committee on Environmental Planning and Coordination.Soon after this the Apex Court of India in one of the Writ Petition held that there should be a course on ‘Man and Environment’. In the light of this directive, the UGC issued a circular to various universities to introduce the course on ‘Environmental Education’.In India, the concern for environmental protection has not only been raised to the status of fundamental law of the land, but it is also wedded with human rights approach and it is now well established that, it is the basic human right of every individual to live in pollution free environment with full human dignity. In view of the various constitutional provisions and other statutory provisions contained in various laws relating to environment protection, the Supreme Court has held that the essential feature of “sustainable development” such as the “precautionary principle” and the “polluter pays principle” are part of the environmental law of the country .The main attention in the education on environment is as below: (i) Over-population and the ways to check its rapid growth. (ii) Afforestation as a preventive to soil erosion and water pollution (iii) Methods to prevent air pollution, insisting on smokeless cooking (iv) Discipline in playing radio and television sets and a ban on use of loudspeaker. (v) Elementary knowledge of the scientific and philosophical basis of man and the environment (vi) Rules regarding disposal of household waste; and (vii) General principles of sanitation.PREAMBLE OF THE CONSTITUITON AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.The preamble of our Constitution provides that our country is based on “Socialistic” pattern of society. This means that the state pays more attention to the social problems than on any problems pertaining to individuals. Environmental pollution which has emerged as one of the biggest social problems is being regarded as a real problem affecting the society at large and thus state is under an obligation to fulfil the basic aim of socialism, that is, to provide decent standard of living to all which can be possible from a pollution free environment.Justice K.S. Dakshinamurty in one of his judgements quoted the importance of environment in the Constitution of India: “Environment as a subject, environment as a concern and environment as part of socio- economic-political structure in the country seems to have taken of. In fact it has entered the structure in such a way that no intellectual, political or academic discourse is complete without it.”CONSTITUTION OF INDIA AND ENVIRONMENT.AMBIT OF ARTICLE 21 (RIGHT TO LIFE AND PERSONAL LIBERTY) AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.Article 21 guarantees the right to life, a life of dignity, to be lived in a proper environment, free of danger of disease and infection. It is an essential fact that there exists a close link between life and environment. Right to life would become meaningless if there is no healthy environment. The right to live in healthy environment as a part of Article 21 was evident from the case of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of U.P. that the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun and a group of citizens wrote to the Supreme Court against the progressive mining which denuded the Mussoori Hills of trees and forests cover and accelerated soil erosion resulting in landslides and blockage of underground water channels which fed many rivers and springs in the valley. The Court ordered the registry to treat this letter as writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. Initially the Court appointed an expert committee to advise the bench on technical issues. On the basis of the report of the committee, the Court ordered the closure of the lime- stone quarries. The Court observed: “This is the first case of its kind in the country involving issues relating to environment and ecological balance and the questions arising for consideration are of great moment and significance not only to the people residing in the Missouri Hill range but also in their implications to the welfare of the generality of people, living in the country”.AMBIT OF ARTICLE 14 AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.The Indian Constitution guarantees ‘right to equality’ to all persons without any discrimination. This indicates that any action of the ‘State’ relating to environment must not infringe upon the right to equality as mentioned in the Article 14 of the Constitution. The Stockholm Declaration, 1972, also recognized this principle of equality in environmental management and it called up all the worlds’ nations to abide by this principle. The judiciary, on various occasions, have struck down the arbitrary official sanction in environmental matters on the basis that it was violative of Article-14. The right to equality is generally resorted to in urban development where permission for construction is granted by the authorities arbitrarily under its discretionary powers without evaluating the public interest and without application of mind and considering the environmental impacts. In Bangalore Medical Trust v. B.S Muddappa the Supreme Court prevented an attempt to convert a public park site into nursing home. The City Improvement Board of Bangalore had prepared the Development scheme for the extension of the City of Bangalore. Under the scheme an area was kept for being developed as low Level Park. Subsequently, under the direction of the Chief Minister of the State the area kept for laying a park was converted to a civic amenity site where hospital was to be constructed by the appellant. When the construction activity was noticed, the resident of the area approached the High Court which allowed the petition. The Appellant came in appeal before the Supreme Court contenting that the decision to allot a site for a hospital rather than a park is matter within the discretion of the development authority and thus, the diversion of the user of the land for that purpose is justified under the Act. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and highlighted the importance of public parks and open space in Urban Development as follows:”Protection of the environment, open spaces for recreation and fresh air, play grounds for children and other conveniences are matters of great public concern and are vital interest to be taken care of in a development scheme. The public interest in the reservation and preservation of open spaces for parks and playgrounds cannot be sacrificed by leasing or selling such sites to private persons for conversion to some other user; it would be in direct conflict with the Constitutional mandate”. Judge R. M. Sahia in his judgment observed that public park as a place reserved for beauty and recreation is associated with growth of the concept of equality and recognition of importance of common man it is a, ‘gift from people to themselves’. Its importance has multiplied with emphasis on environment and pollution. He further pointed that the “discretion is an effective tool of administration”. When affecting public interest, it should be exercised objectively, rationally, intelligibly, fairly and authority cannot act whimsically or arbitrarily. It was held that the decision taken at the instance of the Chief Minister of the State to convert an open space reserved for public park into a site for constructing hospital and to allot the site to a private person was vitiated by non application of mind and was arbitrary, hence ultra vires and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.AMBIT OF ARTICLE 19 AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.Article 19(1) (a) guarantees every citizen a fundamental freedom of speech and expression. In India most of the environmental jurisprudence has developed by judicial activism. Most of the cases came before the Court as a result of public interest litigations (PILs) in which the people exercised their freedom of speech and expression sometimes by writing letters to the court or otherwise by filing petitions before it, highlighting the violation of the rights of the people to live in healthy environment in one way or the other. Freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) also includes freedom of press. In India the public opinion and media have played an important role in moulding the public perception of environmental issues. In Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) non governmetal organizations and influential environmentalists within and outside the government and the role of the media compelled the government to abandon “the Silent Valley Project”. In this case legal battle played only a peripheral role. Again in the Tehri Dam project, the public opinion and media compelled the government to make proper Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed dam and consider all the aspects of safety of the project. The decision of the government to construct Tehri Dam was scrutinized by the Supreme Court in Tehri Virodhi Sangarsh Samiti v. State of Uttar Pradesh in this case the main grievance of the petitioners was that safety aspect have not been taken into consideration by the government in the Tehri Dam Project. The Court on the perusal of the various recommendations of the committees and factual matrix came to the conclusion that the government has applied its mind and considered the relevant aspects of safety and finally dismissed the petition.