The idea of human rights, in general, developed after the Second World War, but the right to a good environment, as one of those human rights, was never a preference. Today, this right is an emerging theory that is being hotly discussed in the human rights field. A good environment is a fundamental aspect of the right to life, not only for human beings but also for other creatures on the planet. Negligence, consequently, of the right to a healthy environment is probably a breach of the primary right to life. Environmental deterioration could ultimately threaten the life of the present and coming contemporaries. Hence, the right to life has been practiced in a diversified way in India. It comprises, inter alia, the right to endure as a species, quality of life, the right to live with pride and the right to maintenance. In India, this has been expressly understood as a constitutional right. The Indian Constitution states: 'No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law.' [1]The Supreme Court extended this contrary right in two ways. Firstly, any law concerning individual liberty should be just, fair and equitable. Secondly, the Court identified some unarticulated opportunities that were mentioned in article 21. It is by this second way that the Supreme Court defined the right to life and personal liberty to embrace the right to a clean environment.


Indian Scenario:

Although the present panic in India began to be felt only after the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984[2], yet it began focusing on the problem of pollution soon after the Stockholm gathering. India parliament enacted many statutes to preserve and enhance the environment through. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; Water (prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974; the forest (conservation) Act, 1989; the air (prevention and control of pollution) Act,1981 and beyond all the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Besides the constitutional (forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 included two important articles viz. Article 48-A and 51A (g) through making the Indian Constitution the greatest in the world presenting constitutional status to environmental safeguard. A worldwide discussion on Environmental preparation was administered at New Delhi which requested for large detail on environmental education, research and monitoring highlighting on the demand for both formal and informal learning, which should begin right from the infancy emphasizing for the need of administrative and non-governmental institutions and specific organizations to come first for education and practice towards the protection of the environment.

The Penal Code Too at That Time Included Procurements Addressing 'Pollution as a Crime':

¬Section 277 relates to water pollution.

¬Section 278 relates to water pollution

¬Section 426, 430, 431, and 432 correlates to pollution in common.

¬Section 368 reports about common trouble where under noise pollution can inter alia be established.

The interest for a multicultural environment in the connection for preparing for commercial development was suggested in the fourth five-year plan, which largely informed about the responsibility of each period to have sustainable growth and also about the necessity of living things and their connection with the land, air, and water.

The National Committee on Environmental Planning and Coordination (NCEPC) was founded in February 1972 and its purview was included various environmental schemes like human arrangements, preparation, the survey of natural ecosystems, like wetlands, and increasing environmental consciousness. In every State and Union Territories, environmental provisions have ultimately been set up and the principal purpose of the committee was to recommend environmental difficulties and to make suggestions for their growth. This office was eventually made the Environment Division of the Department of Science and Technology. Another Committee, appointed as the Tiwari Committee appeared to be fixed up in 1980 (also referred to as the committee for environmental protection). It not only explained the laws which preserve the environment but also the 200 odd laws which in their functioning didn’t essentially protect the environment. In its analysis, it recorded the following important deficiencies:

¬Most utmost of such laws had become outmoded.

¬The laws specified the charges of specific policy purposes.

¬The laws required adequate preparations for improving the tools for its implementation.

¬The laws were commonly irregular.

¬There was no plan for evaluating the effectiveness of those laws.



The environmental law in India today is produced principally by the multiple definitions given by the apex court comprising different facets, some of them are as follows:


M.C Mehta v. UOI

Areas to remove environmental ignorance were given-

¬Cinema halls/video parlors to present not less than two slides on the environment developed by the department of environment.

¬Doordarshan and AIR to allow 5-7 minutes every day for entertaining presentations on the environment.

¬The environment is presented as a mandatory subject in a classified way in schools and colleges and universities shall appoint a course for the same.


M. C Mehta v. Kamal Nath[3]

Supreme Court earned it brilliant clear that any disruption of basic environmental factors namely air, water, and soil which are essential for life would be dangerous to life and can’t be poisoned. (Hotel was releasing effluent into the river and therefore making trouble to oceanic life and water hygiene).


Rural litigation and entitlement Kendra v. the State of U.P.[4]

Limestone mining which stripped Mussoorie hills of trees and forests cover and strengthened soil depletion occurring in blockage of hidden water channels were forbidden.


Tarun Bharat Sangh (NGO) v. UOI[5]

Conclusion of all 400 limestone mines throughout Sariska tiger reserve which frightened the wildlife of that area.


Preventing pollution of Ganga and Yamuna, 1995[6]

Under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 the Supreme Court ordered the replacement of all polluting manufacturing located on the bank of Ganga in Kanpur, Hoogly in Calcutta, and of the Yamuna in Delhi.


T.N Godavarman Thirummalpad v. UOI[7]

1 crore penalty was levied on the Himachal Pradesh government for presenting organizations to paint ads on eco – fragile rock faces on both sides of Rohtang-Manali road.


M.C Mehta v. UOI[8]

Also recognized as the Taj trapezium case, in which manufacturers were required to shift from the use of coke/ coal to natural gas. For those who can’t have to stop working.


P.A. Jacob v. Superintendent of Police, Kottayam[9]

In this fact, the Kerala High Court believed that the right of speech does not involve the freedom to use speakers or sound amplifiers to create noise abuse and risk to human health.


At present, all of us all over the earth face serious environmental dilemmas. The progressive decline of the earth’s ecological reserves acts as a dangerous warning to the pollution-free environment. One of the numerous difficult difficulties facing our age is to prepare a functional synergy between sustainable economic expansion and pollution-free environment. The circumstances which have provided most directly to the unnecessary pressure on the environment and natural sources in India are:

¬A doubling of the district’s community over the past four decades.

¬A tripling of economic output, and

¬The endurance of poverty.


The changes are large and legal procedures grand, but much seems to be yet in store. The children and the layman have all become enriched with the knowledge for a halcyon environment. Nevertheless, the positive effects are not expected. The prospects are dark and the future is uncertain but sadness is no cult to advocate and human commitment to fight pollution has to march forward courageously. In this scenario, India requires a global war on environmental degradation that is as ambitious and well - supported as the war on terrorism. More than ever we require to take imminent steps to guarantee that the environment prevails at the top of our list.

[1] Article 21


[3] on 13 December, 1996

[4] Equivalent citations: 1985 AIR 652, 1985 SCR (3) 169

[5] Equivalent citations: 1993 SCR (3) 21, 1993 SCC Supl. (3) 115

[6] Equivalent citations: [1987] 4 SCC 463 

[7] on 12 March, 1947

[8]  ‎1987 SCR (1) 819, AIR 1987 965

[9] Equivalent citations: AIR 1993 Ker 1