ISSN: 2250-2777

Environmental Courts: Need of the Hour
Author(s): Dr. Shilpa Jain, Asst. Professor of Law in Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, India.

The recent increment to environmental litigation, the specific legislations on the subject, the use of much advanced technology in matters related to environment, constant raising of technical questions regarding the subject and as a result, the increasing involvement of the judiciary in reviewing the policies and programmes related to the environment have resulted in a demand for establishment of a separate Environment Court which was even affirmed by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of A. P. State Pollution Control Board v. M. V. Nayudu  where the Apex Court has felt the need to have Environmental Courts which will have benefit of expertise from environmental scientist, technically qualified persons in the Judiciary itself. The same has been opined by the The Law Commission of India in its 186th Report suggesting that, “Environmental Courts” should be constituted.  The Indian government, having passed the National Green Tribunal Act 2010, and has taken a step forward to make the Judiciary environmentally pro-active with new ‘green benches’ that will be established to exclusively deal with the environmental cases. In the current day, when the world’s fastest growing economy like India is striving to develop as rapidly as possible, the issue here is, whether priority is to be given to development or to sustainability. In the current scenario, cases dealing with environmental matters are not being handled efficiently by the Judiciary in its present set-up. There are a total of 52,592 (Fifty Two Thousand Five Hundred and Ninety Two) cases pending before the Supreme Court, an aggregate of 40,17,956 (Forty Lakhs Seventeen Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty Six) cases pending before the High Courts and 2,71,19,092 (Two Crore Seventy One Lakhs Nineteen Thousand and Ninety-Two) cases pending before all the subordinate courts put together  which clearly suggests that establishment of “Environmental Courts” would definitely reduce the burden on the present courts. It thus, becomes expedient for the government to improve the institutional arrangements to dispense environmental justice. It is in the wake of such a need that the call for environmental courts has been made.

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