The legal aspect of Climate Change wrt India

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

We as a race have been able to survive on Planet Earth, because of the sustainability that mother nature provides. When massive dinosaurs could easily be wiped out, it might so happen that we might be the next if the habitat that we stay, is ruined! And yet we, being the most rational species tend to contribute towards our own graveyard by simply destroying our planet earth. Climate Change that we are experiencing is mostly man made .

Climate Change is normally known as the variation in global and regional climates over time. It reflects changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. The earth’s climate is dynamic in nature and is ever changing . But the cause of concern due to the climate change is that these changes have been speeding up very fast. Now the reason for such changes can be both due to natural processes like continental drift, volcanoes, ocean currents etc. or due to man made hazards . The most alarming is the global warming caused due to increased carbon footprint of man that is contributing majorly towards Climate Change and eventually leading the way for the earth to perish sooner.

Climate Change is not just a word but a grave danger that is lurking at the door of mankind with many questions and we as if do not have the right answers !

India, Climate Change & Laws pertaining to it

Now, talking about our country , India with its burgeoning population contributes majorly towards green house emission & global warming. The rising aspirations of the people and the want to have a better lifestyle in terms of material possession is on the rise with every passing second. And hence the demand for vehicles, ACs, refrigerators and many other things is constantly on the rise. Apart from this the main causes are as below:

a) social factors like excessive population, poverty, and unchecked urbanization

b)economic factors include market failures or the non-existent or poorly functioning markets for environmental goods and services, and the unprecedented growth in all sectors of the economy including transport, industries, port and harbour activities etc.

c)institutional factors like lack of awareness and poor infrastructure make implementation of most of the laws relating to environment, extremely difficult and ineffective.

Legislating Climate Change in India:

After the Paris Agreement ( 2015) , India promulgated the  ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in the year 2008 which has following eight sub missions:

  1. National Solar Mission (started in 2010);
  2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (approved in 2009);
  3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (approved in 2011);
  4. National Water Mission;
  5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (approved in 2014);
  6. National Mission for a Green India (approved in 2014);
  7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (approved in 2010); and
  8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

Though the NAPCC is headed by the Council, there is hardly any accountability on the Council’s part. This is because, India states that it is still a developing nation and is quite reluctant to set a carbon budget for itself as compared to developed nations who have given themselves a timeline to go carbon neutral. But we should not forget that taking this analogy into account, India will eventually be a developed nation and have larger consumption of energy resources. And hence an active planning and legilating the climate change policy is the need of the hour. The rising of heat across the nation, the unbearable heat waves , the untimely thunderstorms , the depleating of the green cover, the increasing urbanisation, the depleating levels of ground water table etc will only multiply in India, if we do not realise how important it is to form concrete laws and have a long term plan of action in place for the climate change that is bound to impact all our lives.

In the year 2015, a private bill was tabled by Kalikesh Singh Deo , Lok Sabha MP of the Biju Janata Dal(Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo  is an Indian politician who was Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha from Bolangir in Odisha and member and leader of the Biju Janata Dal political party) .This was titled as Climate Change Bill of 2015.

Chapter 3 of the Bill covering ‘Carbon Budgeting’ prescribed a mandatory duty upon the union government to present carbon budgets for every budgetary period, commencing from the years of 2015-2020. The Bill also envisaged that it shall be the duty of the government to present before the Parliament, “a report setting out proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets for the current and future periods”.The second proposal which could be incorporated as mentioned in the Bill is the setting up of a “Carbon Trading Scheme” to be monitored by a Carbon Trading Authority. The need of the hour is to incorporate the suggestions on a war footing basis.

Constituion & its link with Climate Change:

The Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Duties chapters deal with Articles that can help sutain our environment.

  1. Article 21 states: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” In Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar, A.I.R 1991 SC 420, and Virendra Gaur v. State of Haryana, (1995) 2 SCC 577, the Supreme Court recognized several liberties that are implied by Article 21, including the right to a healthy environment.
  2. Second, Article 48A requires that “the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.”
  3. Third, Article 51A establishes that “it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.”

India being a federal union of states needs to monitor that each state has its own plan in place and submit their action plan so that a census at the national level can help the country to formally draft a solid climate change policy that is sustainable and workable to achieve quantifiable results.

In all this the role of the judiciary is very important and the Honourable Courts have played a pivotal role in this direction. The orders and directions of the Supreme Court cover a wide range of areas whether it be air, water, solid waste or hazardous waste. The field covered is very vast such as – vehicular pollution, pollution by industries, depletion of forests, illegal felling of trees, dumping of hazardous waste, pollution of rivers, illegal mining etc.


Environment degradation & climate change are directly linked and if we do not act now, then as a nation we might have to suffer in the later period. It is a complex and a natural process that can only be managed if not curbed. Its impact on the socio economic life pattern of the citizens can have drastic implications if proper laws and its implementation are not in place. Having said that just by having laws & statutes is not going to help if there is no mindset among the general masses to reduce individual carbon footprint. So, the will power to go green and adherence to ‘ reduce, reuse & recycle ‘ mantra should be amongst all of us .

Let us pledge that, we can all do our little bit to pass on this planet to our future generation at least in the same state as we got it from our ancestors .

“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.” I shall be writing about Climate Change this quarter.



(Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are purely personal & the references have been collected from different articles on the Internet)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s