APPROACH OF THE 42
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ACT, 1976 TOENVIRONMENT-A CRITICAL STUDYHareesh GuptaStudent of LL.M. 2
YearDr. RML National Law University,Lucknow-226012,E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.orgINTRODUCTION
The legislature is arguably the most important actor in prescribing environmentalstandards in India.Four years after the Stockholm Conference, the forty secondamendment
to the Constitution introduced certain significant provisions relating to thesubject ‘ecology and environment’. The Indian Constitution at that time was the firstconstitution in the world which made provision for the protection of environment andbefore that absence of any constitutional concern for the environment led juriststo regardtheIndianConstitution as suffering from environmentalblindness.
This environmentalblindness was adequately reflected in the functioning of the legislature. Until 1974, thegeneral law of crimes
governed pollution and public health related matters.
It was notuntil the Stockholm Conference
that the environmentbecame a matter of serious debatein India.
Environmental ‘protection and improvement’ were explicitly incorporated intothe Constitution by the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act of 1976. Article48A was added to the Directive Principles of State Policy. It declares: ‘The state shallendeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests andwildlife of the country’. Article 51A(g) in a new chapter entitled ‘Fundamental Duties’,
The Constitutional (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, which came into force with effect from 3
M.K. Ramesh, Environmental Legislation and Implementation in India, in ENVIRONMENTALMANAGEMENT: AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE 239 (S.N. Chary et al. eds., 1999)
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act 45, 1860) §§ 268-270, 277-78
Robati C. Das, How Effective are the Air and Water Pollution Control Acts, 23
INDIAN B. REV.
Declaration of the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment, June 16, 1972, U.N. Doc.A/CONF.48/14/Rev. 1 (1973), reprinted in 11 I.L.M. 1416(1972) [hereinafter Stockholm Declaration]
Bharat Desai, Environmental Laws: Some Reflections, 23
INDIAN B. REV.