Supreme Court of India bolts Right To Life with climate justice - Karma Global
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Supreme Court of India bolts Right To Life with climate justice

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 Supreme Court corridors resound with recognition for climate protection!     

The recognition of the right against climate change by the Indian Supreme Court marks a crucial step towards environmental protection and human rights, and therefore, is a worthy leap

A  panel of three judges in the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, and other two justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, established an unprecedented constitutional right to be protected against the adverse effects of climate change and requested an emergency response plan for the GIB recovery and protection. The judgement invoked the Article 21 (fundamental right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (fundamental right to equality) of the Indian Constitution.

Background of the Case

  • On March 21, 2024, the SC handed down a landmark decision on climate change and human rights in M.K. Ranjitsinh and Others v. Union of India and Others. The verdict is based on some landmark cases  and other crucial jurisprudence.
  • In the Indian constitutional law, the right to clean the environment is recognised under Article 21, which guarantees the fundamental right to life. However, in the case of M.K. Ranjitsinh, the SC extended the protection against the negative impacts of climate change to include Article 14, which guarantees the fundamental right to equality.
  • The court highlighted the challenges faced by communities in India that are more impacted by climate change due to their geographical and economic conditions, which could potentially violate their freedom protected under Article 14.

The outcome of the Case

  • The SC amended its 2021 order in the Ranjitsinh case, delving into a thorough debate of India’s international obligations to address climate change and the role that renewable energy, particularly solar energy, plays in sustainable development and climate change mitigation.
  • The Court emphasized that there is no “binary choice between conservation and development,” emphasizing the need to strike a balance between protecting biodiversity and reducing the effects of climate change.
    • Any disruption to these fundamental elements of the environment would constitute a breach of Article 21. Furthermore, it mandates that the state should uphold ecological equilibrium and ensure cleanliness in the environment.

 Global Climate Litigations

The judgment by the SC is not of its first kind; there are several International Jurisprudence on the subject.

  • Switzerland: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the rights of a Swiss association of older women concerned about the effects of global warming on their living conditions and health under the ECHR in Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland on April 9, 2024 under Article 8 – right to respect for private and family life.
    • In a climate change case, the ECHR ordered national governments to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. It held that the Swiss government’s failure to reach the emissions targets violated human rights. It was the first global court ruling to link human rights violations to climate change inaction
Proprietary blog of Karma Global – collated and compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global  with the knowledge and expertise that they possess,  besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto-generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 24  of  June   2024  and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team –  mudra@karmamgmt.com

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