CJI: Environment agencies cavalier, force courts to intervene


With PRIME Minister Narendra Modi and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar sitting alongside on stage and listening to him, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur on Friday said the “indifferent” and “cavalier” attitude of environment protection agencies had been forcing the courts to intervene in environment-related cases to ensure enforcement of laws.

Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day event organised by the National Green Tribunal and the Environment Ministry, CJI Thakur said the Supreme Court would have had little role to play had the government agencies been doing their job properly.

“We cannot deny the fact that judicial orders are passed out of necessity to enforce the laws only because the primary system of governance fails to ensure an effective implementation. Judgments passed by the courts then compel the authorities to discharge their constitutional and statutory duties. More often than not, the Supreme Court has to step in to protect the environment because of the failure of the state machinery…,” Thakur said.

“…The Supreme Court has had to innovate mechanisms to safeguard the health of the people from toxic pollutants… this situational necessity would not have arisen if the enforcement of laws by state bodies was as effective as they should be. At the heart of the court’s role in environment-related cases lies an ineffective, indifferent or cavalier approach of those charged with the duty of enforcing the laws,” Thakur said, adding that this problem “arising out the lack of a diligent and honest implementation of laws and orders of the court” had been constantly pointed out but without much change.

Prime Minister Modi emphasised on the need for lifestyle changes and said many man-made laws would be rendered redundant if human beings learnt to live in harmony with nature.

“If we want to make a meaningful impact, we all need to look within before we start framing laws… The causes of environment (degeneration) is largely an effect of our consumptive lifestyle… I have always felt that anything that is not sustainable cannot be called development… Anything that compromises the ability of future generations to meet their requirements cannot be called development,” he said.

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