Health is the precious element of human life where every individual has to live his life in a clean and safe environment. As one lives in a clean surrounding he can safe himself from many diseases and add more years to his life. The environment is consists of mountains, river, forest and all natural resources which are gifted to us by nature. As the needs of people grow, they move towards the development of their economy but at the same time destroying the environment to meet their needs causes many environmental issues in the globe. If the same behaviour of man continues for years and more, it will leave nothing for their future generation.
Right to a healthy environment comes as a chief role to maintain the balance between environment and individual health affected by changing the ecosystem. In the Stockholm conference, 1972 it was recognised for the first time that this right was inserted in their constitution and legislation but there was a problem as a the number of cases were increasing and variable laws of the nation are not appropriate for every case. Therefore, strict provisions have been made by the countries for the right to a healthy environment.
Constitutionality of Right to Healthy Environment Right to life with dignity expand and was added with the right to live in a healthy environment in the constitution of India under Article 21 after the 42nd constitutional amendment. Moreover, in the case of Subhash Kumar Vs State of Bihar, it laid a landmark judgment for adding the right to a healthy environment as a fundamental right. In the case of Rural litigation and enlightenment Kendra Vs State of UP, Supreme Court held that the limestone-mining activities happening in Mussorie-Dehradun region caused an ecological disturbance and violated right to life of the people of that region and implicitly declared that right to clean environment is a part of the right to life.
Moreover, after the Bhopal gas tragedy,1984 put lights upon accident happen in the chemical hazardous companies and set the principle of absolute liability where it cannot consider any negligence on the part of the company and if any such accident happens the company will be liable for the compensation. However many measures have been taken by the central and state government for the protection of the environment like the ban on plastic bags which is the most dangerous substance for environment degradation. Also, they limited the use of chlorofluorocarbon which causes the depletion of the ozone layer.
Recently, the Vizag gas leak case in Andhra Pradesh shows the negligence on the part of the company and which affected the people within 5 km of its radius. Similarly, the massive blast of ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port, Lebanese affected the environment and lives of people. These accidents show the need for extraordinary legislations for an extraordinary situation. Effects at the time of pandemic
In the period of lockdown due to worldwide spread of pandemic, everything was saturated in one place, therefore the environment started healing on its own as the emission of various gases from factories, emission of fuel from vehicles and many activities have decreased. It shows there must be some measures which should be taken by the government to save the environment as the lockdown cannot be for-ever and after the unlock phase work starts, everyone will go with that old track and can again affect the environment badly.
(d) 1991 AIR 420, 1991 SCR (1) 5 (e) 1985 AIR 652, 1985 SCR (3) 169