India is a signatory to the Stockholm Declaration which provided to defend and improve the human environment for the present and future generation has become an imperative goal for mankind. Accordingly, the Constitution of India was amended in 1976 to incorporate the provision for the protection of the environment and impressing a fundamental duty upon the citizens of this country to protect and improve the natural environment. Article 48(A) and Article 51A (g) were inserted in the constitution in the constitution (amendment) act 1976. In addition to these provisions, the constitution of India contains some other provisions which indirectly provide for environmental protection.
At the very outset, the preamble of the constitution of India provides that our country is based on a ‘socialist pattern of the society’. The basic aim of socialism is to provide a decent standard of life to all, which can be possible only in a pollution-free environment. The objective of the preamble is reflected clearly and in specific terms in part 4of the constitution. The preamble also declares India to a democratic public. In a democratic setup, people have the right to participate in Govt.decisions. People have the right to know the access to the information of Govt.policies which is very important for the success of the environmental policies.
Article 39 of the constitution lies down that the state shall direct its policy towards securing an adequate means livelihood equally for all citizens. It also provides that the health and strength of workers and the tender age of children are not abused and the citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age and strength.
Art 42 of the constitution empowers the State to make provisions for securing just and human condition of work and of maternity relief. This article also directed the state to provide the workers with a clean environment.
Art 47 of the constitution provides that the state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the improvement of public health and the standards of living its people. This article also provides for the state to bring about prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health. Art 48 of the constitution provides that the state shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and other milky cattle’s.
Art 49 of the constitution provides that it shall be their an obligation of the state to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest from spoliation removal disposal or export. By this article, the state has to make efforts to improve the environment for protecting monument and places and object of national importance.
The constitution (amendment) Act 1976 inserted article 48A and 51A (g) in the constitution. Art 48A provides that the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country. Article 51A (g) provides that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lake, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
Apart from the aforesaid provision the constitution of India confers wide legislative powers on the parliament and the state legislatures for enacting a law relating to environmental protection. The lawyers in India taking initiative steps for conducting protest for protection of the environment.
The following are the punishment in regard to the environment in Indian Penal Code;
Section 268 of the IPC provides punishment for public nuisance. A person is guilty of a public nuisance that does any act or is guilty of any illegal omission which causes any common injury danger or annoyance to the public.
Section 269 provides punishment for the negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life shall be punished with imprisonment of either des c r i p tion for a term extended to 6 months or with fine or with both.
Section 272 provides punishment for adulteration of food or drink intended for sale shall be punished with imprisonment upto 6 months or fine or with both.
Section 277 deals with the offence of fouling water or public spring or reservoir (3 months or Rupees 500/- fine or both)
Section 285 negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing building (6 months or Rupees 1000/- fine or both).Negligent conduct with an animal shall be punished with Rupees 1000/- fine or 6 months or both.
Section 430 provides punishment for mischief by injury to works of irrigation or by wrongfully diverting water (5 years or fine or with both).
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