Environmental Justice and Climate Change

The Environmental Justice Initiative (EJI) attempts to make any intervention in environmental protection more sensitive to human well-being without compromising on environmental protection and conservation strategies. EJI firmly believes that the right to a clean environment is a basic human right, and has been actively involved in fighting environmental degradation that affects the lives and livelihood of the poor.

What HRLN Does?

Through its Environmental Justice Initiative, HRLN uses the judicial system to fight environmental degradation that primarily affects the lives and livelihood of the poor and vulnerable groups and to address the ensuing human rights violations. EJI firmly believes that the right to a clean environment is a basic human right for all, and that access to natural resources is the right of communities, such as tribals, who are primarily dependent on them.

HRLN has been working on environmental justice through litigation, consultations, and campaigns to make environmental protection more sensitive to human well-being, for the effective enforcement of environmental rights, and to provide legal support to affected communities. HRLN also aims to equip communities to take part in environmental decision-making for effective enforcement of environmental rights. One of the platforms used by the organisation to highlight various environment and related human rights violations is the Independent People’s Tribunal. The IPT was formed in 1993 to conduct fair and credible investigation on matters concerning environmental and human rights violations and also to provide communities, and people’s movements a platform to seek redressal and policy change.

In the past, HRLN has worked on landmark environmental cases in state High Courts, NGT as well as the Supreme Court on tribal rights, silicosis and banning of asbestos in India, ban on use of certain pesticides, compliance with bio-medical wastes management, closure of brick kilns in agricultural areas, implementation of rainwater harvesting, compensation for children affected due to groundwater contamination, restoring the Dalit community’s right of use to a public pond, protection of forests and wetlands, banning use of polythene and plastics in the Andaman Islands, and the rehabilitation of people displaced due to dams.

Main Concerns

·      Ensuring effective implementation of environmental laws
·      Rights of marginalised and vulnerable communities to access their land, natural resources, and livelihood options
·      Violation of basic rights such as access to clean air, water, soil, food, health
·      Community’s access to justice and people’s tribunals
·      Research and analysis on changing environmental governance

HRLN Impact

The Environmental Justice Initiative has been successfully using PILs at the National Green Tribunal, state High Courts, and the Supreme Court to address environmental issues affecting people’s lives and livelihood and to ensure that environmental laws are not violated. HRLN also works directly with communities such as fisherfolks, adivasis and other forest dwellers whose lives are being hugely impacted due to various large-scale projects, as well as new laws that are in conflict with key laws safeguarding their rights.

Some of the landmark judgements include:

·      The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement (CA 8438/2016), directed the West Bengal state government to return 997 acres of land to the community in 12 weeks after declaring the 2006 land acquisition for Tata Motors as illegal and void. The apex court also allowed landowners to withdraw compensation which was deposited with either the collector or the court.

·      In another landmark judgement (37/2103 WZ), the National Green Tribunal recognised that despite the presence of six Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in the industrial area of Dombivili, Badlapur, Ambarnath, Additional Ambarnath and Morivali in Maharashtra, the rivers Ulhas and Waldhuni were severely polluted. The NGT directed the Dombivili CEPT (Rs 30 crores), Ambarnath CEPT (Rs 15 crores), Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (Rs 15 crores), and Kulgaon-Badalpur and Ambarnath Municipal Corporation (Rs 5 crores each) to pay a total of Rs 90 crores to the Divisional Commissioner (Kokan Revenue Division) for restitution and restoration of the rivers.

·      In the matter of Jalbiradari Vs MoEF (7/2015 WZ), the NGT directed the project proponent (MMRDA) to pay Rs 25 lakhs as Environmental Compensation for causing environmental degradation due to blasting and building of wall on the banks of River Mithi in Mumbai in direct violation to relevant laws. It also directed the SEIAA to consider and direct the demolition of any part of the project in the interest of environment and ecology.
Lecture on 'Implication of Waste Management and How it is aggravating Covid-19 infections' by Mr. Shashi Darshan

With its base in Delhi, CCRI runs courses throughout India in remote rural areas where access to high-quality legal and ...read more

Lecture on 'Weather Extremities and Disasters in Uttarakhand Himalayas: manifestation of Climate Change' by Mr. Navin Juyal

With its base in Delhi, CCRI runs courses throughout India in remote rural areas where access to high-quality legal and ...read more

Fact Finding Report on the Tapovan-Rishiganga Disaster at Chamoli, Uttarakhand

On February 7, 2021, the residents of Raini village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand witnessed a calamity of epic pr ...read more

diversion of forest land

Binda Devi Versus State of Jharkhand and ors. [WPC/489/2020]
pending for final hearing

Sundergarh tribal villages objection to plying of commercial coal laden vehicle through their village road.

Rajendra Naik and others Vrs State of Odisha and others -W.P.(C) No. 6587 of 2021
Disposed off

POSCO to JINDAL Struggle and Oppressions

W.P.(C) No. 6586 of 2021

IOCL forceful and illegal laying of Petroleum Pipe Lines on Community Land

Debendra Swain and Others Vrs Union of India and Other- W.P.(C) No. 32154 of 2020
Disposed off

Using the Law for Human Rights in Arunachal Pradesh

On 18th July, the Human Rights Law Network, in collaboration with North East Support Centre & Helpline, Himalayan Un ...read more

Webinar on Climate Justice Laws: What We Have and What We Need

As a part of the Students for Human Rights Initiative and the Oak Project the Human Rights Law Network Mumbai collaborat ...read more

Environmental Justice: Insights & Contemporary Issues

In the wake of Covid 19, a group of researchers and lawyers from HRLN began the process of organising a series of worksh ...read more

End the harassment of farmers now

Exemptions granted to farming and related activities during the lockdown must be followed in practiceDrafting orders wit ...read more

False case filed against Environment Activist

Deepak Alias Deepu vs State of Madhya Pradesh
Disposed off

HRLN Odisha's Unit fights to provide environmental justice for residents of various villages of Jagatsinghpur District, Odisha

Sushama Malik & Ors. v. Industrial Development Corporation, Orissa & Ors (Writ Petition 4998 of 2020)

Building Bridges : North America/South Asia Conversation on Environmental Justice

Edited by Shivani Chaudhry The North America/South Asia Conversation on Environmental Justice was held from 2—5 Decem ...read more

Narmada : Inquiry into Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of People Affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project; 2004 - Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights (IPT)

The Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), a multi-purpose dam project built in the Narmada River Valley, has been challenged on ...read more

Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa - Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights

Written and Edited By Shravantl Reddy An eight-member multidisciplinary panel of the Indian People‘s Tribunal headed ...read more

HC Stops Work on Casting Yard Related to Bandra-Versova Sea Link Project

The Bombay High Court, on January 25, 2019, restrained the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) ...read more

Has the Judiciary Abandoned the Environment

Edited by Vipin Mathew Benjamin ...read more

Fog in the Fields: Demystifying The Law of Patents, Genetically Modified Organisms and Biopiracy

Edited by Dipika Jain, Odumeru Jonathan The little book demystifies the issues related to the patents and talks about ...read more

Letter to the Governor and summary of the Indian people's tribunal on the issues of tribal land and alienation under LTR in Telangana

To His Excellency Governor The State of Telangana Hyderabad Dear Hon’ble Your Excellency, Sub: Report of Indian ...read more

Non-implementation of Forest Rights Act in Kerala: HRLN organises IPT to address problems faced by adivasi forest dwellers

The Independent People Tribunal (IPT) on the “Issues and Injustice in the Implementation of Forest Right Act (FRA), 20 ...read more

A report on the flood menace: Will Assam ever be safe from its annual ravaging?

Floods are an annual recurrent event in Assam, causing damage worth crores and affecting thousands of lives. All rivers ...read more

Supreme Court directs Maharashtra chief secretary to pay Rs 100 crore for river pollution

In a landmark order, the Supreme Court has asked the Maharashtra chief secretary to pay Rs 100 crore -- possibly the hig ...read more

Environmental Activist Handbook I

Edited by: Ritwick Dutta, Sunita Dubey, Colin Gonsalves, Aparna Bhat. ...read more