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

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Sustainable Development as Environmental Justice

The principle of sustainable development has evolved to occupy centrality in environmental jurisprudence in India. The Supreme Court has reiterated its importance in the country's environmental legal regime. However, the jurisprudence has been criticised for framing it as a zero sum game where economic development has been repeatedly used as a justification to trump environmental violations, and therefore, rendering it as only declaratory and lacking in content and sufficient teeth to shape public action. But this has compelled policy and statutory recognition of the principle of sustainable development. The National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 recognises it too. This statutory recognition has paved the way for a robust jurisprudence spearheaded by the NGT that has actively sought to evolve a standard of review for public actions in effectuating the principle of sustainable development and in doing so has departed from the reductionist utilitarianism that had characterised the jurisprudence of Supreme Court.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials remain an underregulated area in India despite the potential for negative health effects. An overview of the nature and scale of clinical trials currently underway in the country discusses the specifi c aspects of the regulatory framework and identifi es gaps.

Decision on Bt-Brinjal: Legal Issues

The recent decision of the government of India to impose a moratorium on the release of Bt-Brinjal has been hailed by civil society and scientists alike as a victory for transparency and has demonstrated that the government is responsive to societal demands. This decision is also important since it could set a precedent within environmental regulation with reference to technologies with significant environmental risks. However, the decision also reflects a clear departure from procedure and its legal basis is tenuous and therefore the risk of it being reversed remains. This establishes a clear case for ensuring legal certainty in environmental regulations especially in the case of technologies with significant risks attached to it.

Regulatory Supervision of Emerging Technologies

Regulatory supervision of emerging technologies is seen as unfriendly to business ventures entering uncharted areas. However, technologies like nanotechnology should be supervised as they pose potential environmental risks and health hazards. The initial investments into research in such technologies are public-funded and, hence, it is important to consider questions of efficiency in resource allocation, the need for transparency and public involvement in decision-making.

Patents Bill: Protecting Indigenous Knowledge

The Patents Amendment Bill does not go far enough to develop a holistic framework for the protection of indigenous knowledge. It thus leaves several loopholes through which biopiracy and usurpation of indigenous knowledge can easily take place. A more synergistic relationship between the patent authority and the National Biodiversity Authority, and a more transparent and inclusive decision-making process, will help remove some of the shortcomings in the bill.
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