‘Do not confuse environment rulings with judicial activism’

March 9th, 2009 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 9 (IANS) Judgments and rulings by courts on environmental issues should not be misconstrued with judicial activism, Bombay High Court Chiief Justice Swatanter Kumar said here Monday.
Speaking at a conference of the Asia Pacific Jurists Association (APJA) held in the Goan capital, Kumar said judgments on environmental issues were a mere application of justice and had nothing to do with activism.

“The term judicial activism is a misnomer. Judgements on environmental issues should be not clubbed together with judicial activism,” he said.

Kumar also exhorted corporate houses to shoulder responsibility on issues relating to environment.

He said that while earning profits was not a crime but it should not be at the cost of environment.

“Ethical shareholders should form vigilant pressure groups and keep a watchful eye on the conduct and practices employed by corporate houses,” Kumar said, exhorting the public to increase vigilance as far as environment conservation was concerned.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice V. Misra said development could not be abandoned for the sake of environment. “We will go back to the stone age. But we have to protect environment to protect ourselves,” he cautioned.

Contrasting the approach of the Orient and the West vis-a-vis environment, Misra said in India the environment was linked to survival while in the West it was hinged on the factor of comfort.

He also credited the role of the Indian way of life in conserving the environment.

“We have several religious customs which have helped to conserve forests,” he said.

Emphasising the importance of rigor in the judiciary, Misra said environmentalists should not approach the Supreme Court at the drop of a hat when it concerns green litigation.

“Lower courts play a big role, especially when it comes to examining an issue thoroughly,” he said.

The two-day APJA conference will deliberate on issues related to sustainable development, environmental conservation and the role of the corporate sector in safeguarding environment in face of development.

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