New Laws to protect the Environment

New Laws to Protect the Environment

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  • In 1984, there were very few laws protecting the environment in India, and the there was hardly any enforcement of these laws.
  • The environment was treated as a ‘free’ entity and any industry could pollute the air and water without any restrictions.
  • Whether it was our rivers, air, groundwater – the environment was being polluted and the health of people disregarded.
  • The Bhopal disaster brought the issue of environment to the forefront.
  • This made people realise that the existing laws, though weak, only covered the individual worker and not persons who might be injured due to industrial accidents.
  • In response to this pressure from environmental activists and others, in the years following the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Indian government introduced new laws on the environment.
  • The courts also gave a number of judgments upholding the right to a healthy environment as intrinsic to the Fundamental Right to Life.


  • Laws are necessary in many situations.
  • A major role of the government therefore, is to control the activities of private companies by making, enforcing and upholding laws so as to prevent unfair practices and ensure social justice.
  • This means that the government has to make ‘appropriate laws’ and also has to enforce the laws.
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