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Report No. 186

Article 253 and special law for Environment Courts: Does it flow from any decision in an International conference to which India is a party?

The question is whether the constitution of separate Environment Courts by a statute of Parliament under Article 253 could be justified by tracing this as an act of implementation of any decision taken at an International Conference? If it is so, invoking Article 253 to make such a law will be permissible for Parliament.

There are two answers to this question.

(A) The fact that the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and the National Environmental Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were passed by Parliament (as analysed earlier in this chapter), for the purpose of implementing the decisions at the Rio Conference of 1992 and Stockholm Conference of 1972 show that the proposed Environmental Courts Act can also be similarly passed by Parliament. All these Acts are intended to provide speedy adjudicatory bodies in respect of disputes arising in environmental matters.

(B) The Rio Declaration of 1992 expressly refers to 'remedies' to achieve the objects of the Declaration made at the Conference. 117Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992 refers to effective access to 'judicial and administrative proceedings including redress and remedy' and states that they 'shall be provided'.

10 reads as follows:

"Principle 10: Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making process. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided."

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, clearly requires Judicial remedies to be provided. There is, therefore, no difficulty in Parliament invoking its special powers to make a law on the subject of 'Environmental Courts' under Article 253, even if it be that there is an encroachment into the entries in List II of Schedule VII relating to 'Water', which is a State subject.

The proposed Courts will also be referable to Article 247 read with Entry 13 of List I

The Central Government can establish 'additional Courts' for purposes of implementation of statutes made by Parliament or for implementation of pre-existing statutes as on 26.1.1950, referable to List of VII Schedule under Article 247.

Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts Back

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