DescriptionAccess to justice rights, a strong procedural dimension, in environmental justice discourse requires fair, open, informed and inclusive state institutional processes. These are the means to redress environmental damage or harm and protect and enforce legitimate interests to further the rule of law and environmental sustainability. Within this context, the role of judiciary in shaping and facilitating the development of environmental laws, policies and principles is crucial. The judiciary act as an ‘agent of development’ institutionalizing deliberative and democratic participation and the construction of capabilities of individuals, groups and nature to ensure environmental governance.
India’s green judiciary, particularly the National Green Tribunal (NGT), is an example of its transitional move through substantive and procedural creativity in the current socio-ecological crisis. The juristic and scientific interventions through interpretation of environmental constitutionalism alongside participatory and access rights provide responses and offer some redress resulting in an incremental move towards a developing and interpreting environmental law moving, albeit slowly, from an anthropocentric to an eco-centric approach. Centralising scientific experts (an epistemic community) within an adjudicatory setup determines pathways and provide future course of actions for a collective, symbiotic, inter-disciplinary, wise and timely decision-making. It has resulted in ground breaking, new insights about the environmental/ecological discourse. The Indian judiciary is unlikely to be the panacea for all environmental ills but it can provide a lead in terms of transforming environmental adjudication.
|28 Feb 2018
|University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom