File PIL for a better environment: Bhagwati

December 3rd, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Dec 3 (IANS) People must take advantage of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to have a better environment, former chief justice of India P.N. Bhagwati said here Wednesday.Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day workshop on “Environmental Law and Society” at the Indus Institute of Technology and Engineering, Bhagwati said that people should first take up the matter with the government.

He said that if the government fails, people should immediately approach the courts. “It is the people’s well-being at stake,” he said.

“The first time I came in contact with environmental issues was when Swami Agnivesh (head of Bandhua Mukti Morcha) filed a PIL before me to save Mussorie Hills,” Bhagwati said.

The PIL related to limestone quarrying by contractors who had begun to “vandalise the hills” by cutting the trees recklessly.

One day when (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi was flying over the hills, the contractors out of fear had painted the denuded hills with green paint so that it will look as if some greenery exists, Bhagwati recalled.

“When you ask a child to draw a scenery, he would draw a sky with birds flying or a land with flowing rivers. This is in the child’s DNA,” said S.K. Nanda, state principal secretary, forests and environment.

“The problem we face is that on the one hand as part of our development we spoil the environment by producing more cars while on the other hand we talk about WTO (World Trade Organisation) and global emission. I call it a LPG problem or liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation problem,” Nanda said.

“We talk of growth and simultaneously do anti-development things that result in the clash of two different forces,” he added.

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