Directive Principles of State Policy and Environment Protection.

The Indian Constitution deals with directive principles of state policy, which embody the socio-economic goals which the nation is expected to achieve. These are not enforceable in the court of law, but are useful for governance of the country and it is the duty of the state to apply these principles.

The 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976, introduced a new directive principle Art. 48A for the protection of the environment. Thus, making the Indian Constitution one of the few constitutions of the world which are specifically committed to the cause of ecology and environmental protection. The said Article runs as follows:

“The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.” The state is bestowed upon with the duty of protecting the environment by adopting various measures.

In Sachidanand Pandey v. State of West Bengal[1] the Supreme Court made it clear that the courts must bear in mind Article 48A and 51 A(g) whenever a problem of ecology is in front of the court. It was stated by the court in its judgement as, “not shrug its shoulders and say that priorities are a matter of policy and so it’s a matter for the policy-making authority.

Article 253

 This article give power to Parliament to create law for the country or any part of the territory for implementing any conventions, treaty, and agreement with other countries. By this article Parliament enacted various laws for the protection of environment like Wildlife Act 1972, Water Act 1974, Air Act 1981, the Environmental Protection Act 1984.

Article 246

 This Article divides the subjects of legislation between Union and State. It also provides Concurrent list in which both State and Union make laws by sharing jurisdiction which includes forests, protection of wildlife, mines and minerals development. So, both State and Union have power to make laws for protecting the environment. It also provides extra power to Parliament to make laws in State list for the national interest and by this Water Act of 1974 enacted by the parliament.

Article 47

Imposed duty on the State to improve the standard of living of citizens by providing health facilities, sanitation, proper nutrition and protect the environment to live safely. And it also wants from citizens to be more conscious of the environment.

The 42nd Amendment of the Constitution (1976) introduced specific provisions relating to environment in the Indian Constitution although this amendment is sometimes referred to as “two-fold provision” for the protection of the environment in fat, it gave the much-needed impetus to the ecology and the environment in three ways-

  1. It inserted Art 48A as a directive principle of state policy directing the state to take steps and protect and improve the environment.
  2. It imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen in the shape of Art 51A(g) to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life.
  3. It shifted the entries relating to “Forests” and “Protection of wild animals and birds” from the state list.

[1] Sachidanand Pandey v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1987 SC 1109.

Aishwarya Says:

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