ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Armin RosencranzSubscribe to Armin Rosencranz

Requirements of Justice

Following the July 2010 district court verdict in the Bhopal gas leak case, the Supreme Court decided to re-examine its own 1996 ruling of light punishment to the accused. Should judicial activism stretch to the extent of reopening a 26-year-old case, not with the objective of seeking more compensation but to seek additional criminal punishment for the accused? Should not the activist role of the judiciary be spent on rendering justice to the victims who continue to suffer? What of the interest earned by the government from the undistributed money which was accepted in 1989 as compensation from Union Carbide? Why has the government failed to clean up the contaminated site until now?

National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009: Proposals for Improvement

The government is to introduce in the winter session of Parliament legislation to give effect to a suggestion made by the Supreme Court over the years: establishment of "green tribunals" which would deal with environmental litigation. If they are to be effective, these green tribunals must insure the costs of bringing properly evidenced litigation, enable all affected people to bring challenges, avoid delay, ensure the objectivity of tribunal members, and guarantee the enforcement of tribunal orders.

Whither the National Environment Appellate Authority?

While the National Environment Appellate Authority was set up as an independent body to address cases in which environmental clearances have been granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it has failed to serve as an effective redressal mechanism to address the grievances of aggrieved citizens. This is primarily because of the faulty composition of the NEAA, alongside the non-appointment of the chairperson and vicechairperson. The future of the NEAA looks bleak and its usefulness as a quasi-judicial authority must be in doubt.

Supreme Court and India's Forests

The T N Godavarman vs Union of India case in the Supreme Court, also known as the "forest case", is an example of the judiciary overstepping its constitutional mandate. The court has effectively taken over the day-to-day governance of Indian forests leading to negative social, ecological and administrative effects.
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