Recently, national capital Delhi and its surrounding areas were choked by deadly smog due to increased air pollution and the situation, when it comes to healthy environment, is still hazardous.
But do we know that clean and healthy environment is not just our need but right as well?
Right to a healthy environment is a one of the basic human rights and an essential aspect of right to life for every living being including humans and animals.
After the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the real panic of the environmental deterioration started being felt in India.
In bid to protect and improve the environment, Indian Parliament passed a statute “Environment (protection) Act, 1986”.
Under the the Environment (protection) Act, 1986, “Central Government, shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment”.
In the Indian Constitution, Fundamental Duties of a citizen also includes contribution in protection of the environment.
With the inclusion of Article 48A and 51A in 42nd amendment of the constitution, India became the first country in the world to grant a constitutional status to the environment protection.
Further, Article 21 of the Constitution of India confers right to life and personal liberty to its citizen. Clean a healthy environment was also an ssential part in the ambit of right to life. Justice Iyer has characterised the Article 21 as " the procedural magna cartaprotective of life and liberty.
In a landmark ruling in M. C Mehta v. Kamal Nath case in 1997, the honourable Supreme Court made it very clear that “any disturbance of basic environmental elements namely air, water and soil which are necessary for life would be hazardous to life and can’t be polluted.”