Sustainability Transformations, Environmental Rule of Law and the Indian Judiciary: Connecting the Dots through Climate Change Litigation

Gita Gill*, Gopichandran Ramachandran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is an urgency to address societal challenges due to earth’s environmental crisis and its capacity to sustain human well-being. In this context, ‘transformations towards sustainability’ move to centre-stage and are increasingly institutionalised within global scientific and policy discourses. Sustainability transformations involve reorientation and restructuring of governance processes and actions. Though the governance of transformation involves multiple actors, this article examines the role of the judiciary in steering a transformation process towards a sustainable and equitable future. Judicial intervention, as a strategic tool, can effect change in human action thereby enabling deliberate and incremental transformative change. Drawing on social science literature, the article offers a novel interdisciplinary analysis of illustrative Indian climate change legal decisions located within the sustainability transformations discourse underpinned by the environmental rule of law. The Indian judiciary, noted for expansive thinking, and acting as a ‘lever of transformation’, is slowly addressing climate cases. These cases categorised as- climate conscious, climate accountability and climate futurity- reflect progressive cumulative outcomes, albeit incremental, but they nevertheless enable conditions for transformative change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Law Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Jun 2021

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