Law

Right to clean environment is fundamental right and Fundamental duty is to protect the environment

Diwali is the festival of colour, lights and happiness. There is a tradition to burn firecrackers on Diwali but due to the environment pollution, many states ban buying and selling of firecrackers & announces complete ban on them  including  Rajasthan, Maharashtra. While in some states green crackers are allowed along with time restrictions such as in Karnataka, Telangana. While in some states there aren’t any restrictions as such. 

 

In India festivals are celebrated to the fullest and firecrackers are considered as happiness & the part of diwali. So, a layman can claim that it is a discrimination but is it true? 

We all know how much firecrackers contribute to air pollution but still they can argue why the state is interfering in such matters?

 

Without further ado, we should understand that it is a fundamental right of the natural person to get a clean environment. It’s the duty of the state to ensure it and they can take any action regarding this. Along with this, it is the fundamental duty of the citizens to protect the environment.

 

Article 21 of Constitution of India states that “no person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except the procedure established by law.” The article doesn’t clearly mention the word Right to clean environment but it is traceable under this article because a person can’t live without a clean environment. So,

depriving someone from a clean environment amounts to depriving him from a healthy life. 

Supreme Court always interpreted  Right to clean environment as Fundamental right under Article 21 of Constitution of India and some of case laws are – 

Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar 

In this case, the Supreme Court observed that Article 21 of Constitution of India states right to life and personal liberty. Right to life includes clean water and a clean environment for enjoyment of life which should be ensured by the state. 

 

Murli S. Deora v. Union of India

In this case, the Apex Court banned smoking at public places because non-smoker also suffered due to air pollution and it is their right to get a clean environment under Article 21 of Constitution of India.

 

Apart from this, Article 51 A(g) states that it is the fundamental duty of a citizen to protect and improve the natural environment. 

There are few more acts which protect the environment such as Environment (Protection) Act, Forest (Conservation) Act, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. 

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