Environmental crime is often seen as a type of white collar crime, especially when considering that corporate interests are often represented by the individuals involved in committing the illegal act. However it is possible for individuals who do not generally fit the mould of a white collar criminal to commit environmental crime, or who do not commit crime on behalf of a corporation or business. Similar to traditional crimes, environmental crime is committed in society by different groups and individuals. Corporations are as noted, responsible for a great deal of environmental crime, especially with regard to pollution and hazardous waste disposal. Individuals and small businesses also engage in environmental crime, for example, when they unlawfully dump hazardous materials or simply engage in littering. Coordinated criminal organizations additionally participate in ecological wrongdoing, for example, through wrongfully discarding harmful and bio perilous materials for different endeavours. There are different definitions for ecological wrongdoing. From a legal perspective, environmental crime may be characterised as harms committed against the environment in violation of legally defined terms. This definition can be expanded by philosophers to include environmental harm that does not come under legally prescribed guidelines. For many groups, including industry leaders, environmentalists, criminologists, and politicians, the varied interpretations of what specifically constitutes environmental crime could generate particular challenges. Recent concerns about global warming and increased oil prices, for example, have led to increased public concerns about environmental problems. Similar concerns about oil shortages in the 1980s created public concern about environmental problems, including the need for fossil fuel-operated vehicle alternatives. The term environmental issue include a wide variety of issues, including environmental conservation, sustainability and environmental crime. The focus of this research paper is sustainability and environmental crime. Environmental crimes continue to impact the society. The significance of environmental damage is real, especially with respect to public health and sustainability. Although the media in its news reports, on television and in movies highlight on traditional crimes but media coverage of environmental crime is much less obvious in society. Environmental crime has often been ignored by the law makers and public. The reasons for this particularly can be attributed to the ignorance of the society in general. The laws relating to the protection of the environment needs much reform and there needs to be a general acceptance of seriousness of the issue of environmental crimes and there must be more awareness in society.
Are the existing laws for environmental protection in India compatible with International laws and needs reformed or not?
The requirements for protection and conservation of environment and reliable use of natural resources are reflected in the constitutional substructure of India and also in the international fidelity of India. The Constitution under Part IVA (Article 51 A that is fundamental duties) casts a duty on every citizen of India to safeguard and ameliorate the natural environment which includes forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have empathy for living creatures. Thereafter, the Constitution of India under Part IV (Art 48A that is DPSP) specifies that the State shall attempt to safeguard and ameliorate the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. The environmental resolutions of the national or state courts and international environmental law have guided each other. The resolutions of the state courts which are auxiliary sources' under Article 38(1) of the statute of the ICJ may guide straight to the widening of 'customary or traditional' rules of international law. Similarly, the state courts have often evolved national environmental jurisprudence by taking ingenuity and help from the international environmental laws. In the light of aforementioned development, strive has been made to analyse the connections between definite international environmental law principles and their solicitation in domestic law by the state courts in India. International Law and the Indian Constitutional Scheme Internal Law and the Distribution of Legislative Power: Article 245 of the Constitution of India gives out the territorial Jurisdiction of the legislative power, consults the power to the parliament to make laws for the entire or any specific part of the territory of India. Article 246 gives rise to the subject matter of laws, sanctions the parliament to have 'exclusive' power to make laws with esteem to the Union list. The parliament has an absolute power to legislate on all possible international elements which have been categorised under the Union List. Under the list main entries relating to international matters are: foreign affairs (entry 10), United Nations Organization (entry 12), participation in international conferences, alliances and other bodies and lodging of decisions made thereat (entry 13), and entering into treaties and agreements with foreign countries and imposing of treaties, agreements, contracts and conventions with foreign countries (entry 14) etc. Article 253 the parliament has complete power to make any law for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other countries or any resolutions made at any international conference, alliances or other body. These provisions propose that the parliament has extensive power to pass laws on international matters. This power of the parliament, as per the Supreme Court, cannot overrule the fundamental rights cited under Part III of the constitution. Under the constitutional scheme the union government's administrative power is coinciding to the legislative power of the parliament (Article 73). According to the Supreme Court treaty making is considered as an executive power rather than legislative activity. In India many salient environmental statutes have been sanctioned to endorse or to fulfil national responsibilities under the international environmental treaties, conventions etc. Also, an attempt has been made to present a chart which has a list of international environmental laws and applicable Indian environmental statutes showing close connections between the same.
International Environmental laws
1. The Stockholm Conference, 1972
2. The Rio Conference, 1992
3. Convention of Biological Diversity, 1992
4. Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973.
Relevant Indian Environmental Statutes
1. The Air Act, 1981
2. The Environmental Protection Act, 1986
3. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
4. The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995
5. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
6. The Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Act, 2002
The part of the judiciary depends on the very nature of the political system embraced by a specific country. This is the rationale that the role of the judiciary differs in liberal democracy, socialist systems and countries having dictatorships. The role of the judiciary has been dominant in liberal democracies like India. The Constitution of India in fact took ingenuity from the US Constitution and therefore acquired the same concept of judicial review. In Independent India, history of judiciary, judicial review and judicial activism has been a prolific area for legal researchers. It is now a well-entrenched fact that, in India, in view of legislative and executive in difference, the role of judiciary has been the most important part in shaping the environmental laws and policies. Role of Vellore Case in Evolution of Environmental Law in India Vellore case has been demonstrated as a turning point of the widening of environmental law in India. Though the aforesaid ratio of the Vellore case has often been interrogated by the detractor but the Supreme Court has never cast an uncertainty on the ratio of this case. Therefore, an attempt has been made to present an account of those cases in which the Vellore case has been quoted, accepted and used. The proportion of the Vellore case was put in seven major cases by the Supreme Court. Out of these seven cases, six judgments have been delivered by Justice Kuldip Singh himself and there were no dissenting beliefs by the various other judges in such cases. In one of the cases namely Bayer India Ltd, the judgment was delivered by Justice Hansaria on behalf of a division bench of which Justice Kuldip Singh was also a part of it. In these seven cases the proportion of the Vellore case was literally referred and accepted. Through this exercise Vellore's case was effectively transformed as the grundnorm by Justice Kuldip Singh without describing that it was he who produced this grundnorm. The fact, that out of seven, six judgments delivered by Justice Kuldip Singh himself, proposes that before his retirement, which was due in December 1996, he wanted to set up the ratio of Vellore as a settled modelled under Indian environmental jurisprudence. In India, the distress for environmental protection has not only been upraised to the status of fundamental law of the land, but it is also committed with human rights tactics and it is now well established that, it is the basic human right of every individual to live in a pollution free environment with complete human dignity. It is high time that the overall public, public entities, state and central government understand the damage, which our developing process has made to the living environment. For the success of the local government laws connecting to the environment it is vital to create a sense of public consciousness and public hygiene in the use of municipal services like roads, public places, drainage etc. Environmental protection laws in India need a new location in the modern context. It can also be questioned that:-
Whether public involvement in addressing in addressing environmental crime creates pressure on the government to take a more proactive approach to resolve environmental concerns?
The society performs a vital role in addressing environmental crime. Public attitudes help to shape social behaviour, and public action usually follows increased societal concern for the environment. The activities may involve responses from government and industry after constant public pressure, or they can be the result of the public taking a proactive approach to environmental issues. Recent concern about environmental issues has helped in making the public more responsive to environmental crimes. This is not a unique situation; for instance, public attitudes towards environmental crime changed during the 1980s as environmental crimes became more likely to be seen by the general public as harmful acts and not just the costs of doing business. It can be seen that many Indians are concerned about the environment and have justified it with clear action. In a 2019 case, the Maharashtra government had sanctioned and order to clear vast stretches of the Aarey forest for the purpose of developing three metro car sheds. Following this, there was huge public outrage and many citizens stepped out together to protest the government’s decision and reconsider its order. Grassroots efforts, especially with regard to the detection of environmental crimes, have contributed greatly to environmental protection. Such efforts promote the local level prevention and resolution of environmental crime by addressing particular concerns that corporations, politicians, and government bodies such as law enforcement and regulatory agencies often ignore. Therefore as opposed to the historical practice of depending on the seemingly distant federal and state agencies to confront environmental concerns, there is a demonstrated need to confront environmental damage at the local level. Like the new spotlight on local area arranged policing in which police have more noteworthy public contact and depend on residents to help in wrongdoing battling endeavours, grassroots endeavours gives an essential enhancement to administrative state and government administrative endeavours in regards to natural law. The society today have adapted to a sustainable way of living. This comes as there is a general feeling of responsibility towards the protection of the environment. Sustainability by definition refers, to the practise of continuously producing the necessities of human life with little or no environmental damage. Sustainability, which requires substantial long-term planning, depends on balancing the material and energy needs and wants of society effectively. Such management involves cooperation between different government entities in order to maximise and replenish natural resources. Sustainability therefore includes collaborative and cooperative efforts by different agencies and disciplines, as well as effective implementation of environmental regulations to protect against continued environmental harm. Various efforts have made way in the last couple of years in order practice sustainability more effectively. For example, recycling initiatives are becoming increasingly popular. Continued destruction of natural resources is avoided by recycling bottles, paper, and other materials. Additional examples involve the production and driving of cars that do not rely on fossil fuels. In response to public demand, automakers are currently seeking and increasingly manufacturing alternatives to fossil fuel-powered vehicles. As compared to environmentally damaging disposable bags, the use of reusable food sacks is another example of recycling initiatives taken in successfully reducing of environmental crime and enforcement of environmental laws. As society moves towards sustainable living, 'Green living,' which includes a demonstrated concern for the conservation of environmental resources, is becoming more popular. Much work remains for society to ensure that future generations can have the requisite environmental tools at their disposal. Nevertheless, current concerns for sustainability, the implementation of environmental laws, and every small attempt taken by citizens to protect the environment lead to a more promising future.
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Name- Ananya Singh
Course- BA.LLB (Hons.)
College- Alliance School of law, Alliance University, Bangalore