Courting the Environment

Tracking environmental justice on ground

Summary: Through documentaries and case briefs, Vidhi tracks the implementation of five landmark judgments of the Supreme Court of India and the National Green Tribunal on environmental protection.

The Supreme Court of India has a stellar track record on environmental protection. It is credited with taking important steps to clean Delhi’s air, protecting the Taj Mahal from industrial pollution, preserving forests and halting polluting activities in the Ganga. However, the life of environmental law exists beyond the courtroom and case books. While the recognition of important environmental principles as part of the law of the land is the first step towards environmental protection, we would be failing in our duty as environmental lawyers, activists and academics if we did not scrutinise the practical implementation of these principles. We must examine whether there is compliance with the Court’s orders and directions, and if not, identify and address the reasons for this. 

With this objective, the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has been tracking the implementation of five landmark judgments of the Supreme Court of India and the National Green Tribunal (‘NGT’) on environmental protection. These judgments span different geographical areas-the rivers of Uttarakhand, industrial areas in Telangana, rhinoceros territory in Assam, and toxic air and landfills in Delhi. They also span different environmental issues-ecological threats posed by dams, efficacy of effluent treatment plants, wildlife conservation, air pollution, and waste management. Through a combination of field research, judgment analysis and interviews with petitioners, lawyers and other stakeholders, Vidhi has produced a set of five documentaries and five case briefs that provide a comprehensive overview of each of these judgments and their implementation on the ground. Together, these briefs and documentaries provide the legal background for each case, present the key facts, summarise the major orders and directions of the Supreme Court and NGT, and discuss the degree of success with which these have been implemented. 

Watch the trailer of the film series here.

1.‘Hari Phuljhari’: Tracking the firecrackers ban in Delhi

‘Hari Phuljhari’ is a deep dive into the implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders regulating the manufacture and use of firecrackers. Read its case brief here.

2. Trailer of ‘An Unequal Fight’: Industrial pollution in Patancheru

‘An Unequal Fight’ tracks one of India’s oldest environmental cases involving pollution by bulk drug manufacturing industries in Patancheru and Bollaram area in Telangana. Join the release of the documentary on December 2 at 6 PM (register here). Watch the trailer below. Read its case brief here.

Upcoming documentaries

  • Ladenge Jeetenge
  • My Way or The Highway
  • Garbage Matters
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