Conserving Environment: A shared responsibility
Dr. A. K. Gupta
With a clarion call for developing a perfect and viable synergy and synthesis between three strong pillars of India Democracy, viz., the Judiciary, the Legislation, and the Executives, the World Conference on Environment - 2017 was stagedby the National Green Tribunal on 25-26 March 2017 at VigyanBhawan, New Delhi with all fanfare that it deserved in presence of galaxy of intellectuals from amongst the finest mind in Judiciary (Chief Justices, Judges) from across the globe, great think-tanks and stalwarts amongst the Legislators (Parliamentarians), and Executives manning highest policy-execution positions in the field of Environment. Other stakeholders who also participated included Environmentalists, Scientists, Lawyers, Academicians, students and international and national delegates from across the globe.
The Legislators are called upon to frame policies that are down to earth in addressing the needs and aspirations of the poorest of the poor in the country; the Executives have to ensure implementation of such policies with utmost sincerity, honesty, dedication and dexterity. There is no room for short cut and complacency with the Executives, lest the desired objectives and goals as inherent within the policy are not going to be met with. The judiciaryhas to play a role as watchdog ensuring enactment and execution of various Acts, Rules, Guidelines, Policies, etc. to reach the benefits even to the last person among the poorest of the poor. The judiciary also has to be punitive for bringing in corrective measures whenever either or both legislators and executives gets derailed from the chartered path of meeting slated objectives. Each of these three arms of the Indian democracy are equally important and together only could help accomplish the targeted goals. There appears no room of one-upmanship for either of these pillars as each of these are equally important in their own domain, thus playing supplementary and complementary roles to assist each other in meeting their respective and common goals.
The above philosophy was more or less on full display during key addresses, deliberations and panel discussions during different thematic technical sessions at the Conference on environment related issues. It has come out so vividly that if Executives have to execute policies timely and effectively, the Legislators need to ensure that the framed Policies are true to ground realities. The Judiciary has to play a role of adjutant for striking a perfect balance between too delicate issues of development versus environmental protection and conservation; ensuring none takes precedence at the cost of the other. It is undisputed fact that developing countries are in dire needs of industrialization and infrastructure building to bring their populace above poverty level, thus also bringing them in direct conflicts with imminent dangers of losing environmental resilience. All were in agreement unanimously that use of enabling technologies could surely tone down adverse effects on environment while still achieving the development goals fully. Given that the environmental protection is a global concern cutting across the political boundaries, the roles of Nations having enabling technologies and finances are identified very critical and as need of the hour if at all the battle against the worst infestation of environmental degradation, i.e. climate change is to be successfully combated jointly at the global level. This, to me, was the central message of this Global Conference, which brought out best possible experts and minds in the field of environmental protection and conservation. It also gave an opportunity to assess effectiveness and relevance of various steps being followed in Tripura towards sustainable conservation of biodiversity with special reference to the access and benefit sharing mechanism vis-à-vis what is being followed and achieved elsewhere within and outside India. In Tripura, we have achieved a lot in the fields of environmental, forestry, wildlife, and biodiversity conservationreflecting a perfect harmony and synergy between all three wings as stated above. However, the challenge to bring people on par with development equity is still on and even more due to intimate dependency of scores of ecosystem people in the state with the natural resources to meet even their basic subsistence economy. It has become crystal clear that the issue of environmental conservation is not the sole responsibility of one or two departmentsalone (Executives), but it very strongly calls for joint efforts and shared responsibilities cutting across all boundaries or jurisdictions, it be legislative, judiciary or executive.
Views expressed in the article are personal of the author