India’s need for Green Judges

The Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde, speaking at the valedictory session of the International Judges’ Conference on ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’ in the National Capital on February 23rd, expressed his views on a single system of laws, said that the judiciary is the guardian of constitutional values and serves to counter-balance populist forces in a commitment to the rule of law.
It is not new that in the last two decades, the environment has deteriorated, and there is no chance of recovery if action is not taken soon. The need of the hour is stringent policies and harsh punishments, and strong implementation of the same. This is where the judiciary comes into picture, for implementation of policies and keeping a check on compliance.
For instance, on December 18, 2008, the Supreme Court of Philippines decided to issue a continuing mandamus to all government agencies requiring the clean-up, restoration and preservation of Manila Bay. A Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC) was constituted, time and again, as recently as in 2020, tasked to minutely monitor the implementation of the 2008 decision by the Philippine Supreme Court.
In India, Justice Kuldip Singh came to be known as the “green judge” after he decided a number of PILs on environmental issues. Till his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1996, he passed crucial judgments on air pollution, including specifying norms for industries around the Taj Mahal.
We need more of such people in the judicial system, because this is our only hope to stop this destruction and focus on damage control.

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