Judicial Reform and Development of Environmental Law

Sargam Aggarwal, Vikash Kumar & Tanya Choudhary
School of Law, UPES, Dehradun Uttrakhand, India

Volume I, Issue IV, 2018

The world health organization (WHO) has observed that over 70 percent of all human ailments are influenced by environment deterioration. The industries are the sources of hazardous emissions and effluents. The use of chemicals insecticides and pesticides in agriculture also leaves dangerous residues. Transport, whether by land or water or air contaminate the environment. Public health infrastructure- sewage, garbage and drainage- has a detrimental impact on the environment. The food we eat, the water we drink, and the house we live in are not free from contaminants, affecting our health and causing a spectrum of ailments.

The judiciary to fulfill its constitutional obligations was and is always prepared to issue ‘appropriate’ orders, directions and writs against those people who cause environmental pollution and ecological imbalance. This is evident from a plethora of cases decided by it starting from the Ratlam municipality case[1]. This paper aims to bring attention to the evolution of Environmental laws through judicial activism and precedents since then through various case laws which raised questions of laws pertaining to the same. When the duty of court has been invoked to uphold the resources of the state as part of their functioning, various interpretation and implementation of environmental laws have come into picture. This paper emphasizes on the Principles and Doctrine propounded by Indian Judiciary. Few of them are  Principle of absolute liability evolves in the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India[2],  Polluter pays principle in the case of Indian council for enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India[3], and many more. The method of research is doctrinal in nature as it deals with pre-existing documents and from recent resources including various landmark judgments.


[1]Ratlam Municipality V. Vardhichand, AIR 1980 SC 1622.

[2]AIR 1996 SC 1466.

[3](1996) 3 SCC 212.


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