The concept of judicial activism was originated in 1947 in US, and it was defined as a philosophy of judicial decision making. Judiciary is involved in making legislation for the society. The basic role of judicial activism is to preserve the rights of the citizen as well as preserving the constitutional and legal system of the country. As the environment issues are increasing day by day so the judiciary have led to the arrival of environmental legislation. The right to the healthy environment is guaranteed by the constitution under article 21 which expressly refers to life and personal liberty.
The role of judiciary in the enhancement of environmental laws and providing various numbers of doctrine and principles for the protection and preservation of the environment which helps in achieving sustainable development goals can be understood by seeing following Landmark judgements:
1) MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, RATLAM VS SRI VARIDACHAND AND ORS.
After this case the judiciary started involving in the formation of environmental legislation so this case is considered as the initial stage of the formation of protective environmental laws.
The facts of the case are: -
The residents of the municipality of Ratlam, which is the city situated in Madhya Pradesh, India. File the complaint regarding the improper drainage system before the Sub Divisional magistrate under Section 133 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
The municipality was directed by the Sub Divisional magistrate to draught a plan within six months to solve the issue faced by the people. But then the case was moved to the high court by the municipality seeking that they do not have enough funds for the preparation of proper drainage system. But the High Court approved the decision of the Sub divisional magistrate. Letter on the municipality moved to Supreme court through and appeal but supreme court also ruled against the municipality and said that shortage of fund is not an excuse.
This issue was related to the public help so the Supreme Court ruled on the basis of interests of society preserving their social interest which was inferred by the preamble and article 38 of the Indian Constitution so the municipality was said to take any immediate action within 6 months.
2) M. C MEHTA VERSUS UNION OF INDIA (GANGA POLLUTION CASE)
In this case the petition was filed under the writ of mandamus against the respondent which was leather tanneries for the discharge and deposit of the chemicals of industries without proper treatment to Ganga river. And also, the discharge sewage was causing water pollution and was harming the marine life of Ganga River.
The supreme court bifurcated the repetition into two parts: Mehta I [XV] and Mehta II [XVI] as no one was taking charge of it after being known of that holy river is getting polluted from a long time.
M C Mehta not being a riparian owner, Supreme court came up with the view that he can file a suit against the nuisance caused by the industries on behalf of the people who are being affected by the water pollution. the court ordered the Mahapalika of Kanpur to ask those pollution causing industries to either stop the industries or to dump their waste outside the city. From this case onwards if any industry applies for a license, then that particular industry must possess adequate provisions for the treatment of trade effluents flowing out of the factories.
For the development of the country with environmental conditions and the health of the citizens needs to be good. Show the development and environment go hand in hand. And the judiciary of our country has played an important role in the formation of various principles and doctor rhymes for the development of environmental legislation. Its specially included right to clean and healthy environment as a part of our fundamental right under article 21 of the Constitution.