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

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The 'Green' Quotient in the Supreme Court

Environmental Jurisprudence and the Supreme Court: Litigation, Interpretation, Implementation by Geetanjoy Sahu (Orient BlackSwan, TISS), 2014; pp xviii + 323, price not indicated.

The Supreme Court has played a critical role in developing India’s environmental jurisprudence. Through numerous rulings, the Court has developed legal principles and concepts while deciding cases, interpreted rights and obligations where none were clearly defined, significantly influenced (and occasionally dictated) policymaking, and proactively overseen the implementation of its orders. The Court’s role in environmental conservation is often the highlight of discussions on judicial activism in India – discussions that do not always view the Court in favourable light. Although the Supreme Court has certainly transformed the legal landscape, whether its pronouncements have in effect protected the environment or reduced the pace of environmental degradation has been a question that has troubled many over the years.

Environmental cases, particularly in contemporary times, rarely turn on purely legal considerations. The social, political, and economic issues inter-woven in environmental cases often compel strategic choices by litigating parties, as well as the Court, before a judgment is pronounced, and even after – during the implementation and monitoring stages. There has been very little by way of systematic analysis of the decision-making processes, and the factors affecting implementation of orders, in environmental cases in India. In this context, this book by Geetanjoy Sahu makes a significant contribution to the study of environmental jurisprudence in India.

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