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India’s Progressive Environmental Case Law: A Worthy Roadmap for Global Climate Change Litigation


Ram Mohan, M.P.; Kini, Els Reynaers; Prasad, Sriram

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WP 2022-09-01


This paper explores how the long-standing tradition of common law countries such as India, which have acknowledged the fundamental right to a healthy and pollution free life for many decades, can assist Judges in other jurisdictions and inform global climate governance. More specifically, many other common law and civil law jurisdictions are faced for the first time with having to interpret and assess whether there is a fundamental right to a healthy and pollution free environment. This question forces them to review whether state inaction on climate change infringes this fundamental right. This paper examines how Indian courts have adjudicated environment and climate litigation. We further scrutinize the classification of cases as climate litigation in the Indian context to try and truly unearth Indian jurisprudence on environment and climate protection. The paper also examines the trends observable and the way forward for environment and climate litigation in India. We compare the four human rights based climate litigations before the European Court of Human Rights with Indian jurisprudence to understand transnational climate litigation better.


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