Amritsar, November 23: The Amritsar Dialogue on Green Courts & Tribunals: Challenges and Opportunities a 2-day programme was inaugurated here today in the Senate Hall of the Guru Nanak Dev University. This programme is being organized by Jawahar lal Nehru Chair, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi and Centre for Advanced Study on Courts and Tribunal, Amritsar in collaboration with Asian Development Bank and Law Department of the University. As many as 100 environment experts from all over the world are participating.
Prof. A.S. Brar, Vice-Chancellor presided over while Justice Antonio H. Benjamin, Supreme Court of Brazil, Brasillia and Chairman, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, Bonn delivered the keynote video address on Skype and Dr. Balakrishna Pisupati, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority delivered the special lecture on skype at this occasion. Prof. Bharat H. Desai, Chairman, CASCT & Jawahar Lal Nehru Chair, JNU, New Delhi explained the Amritsar Dialogue Process and introduced the subject of this programme. Prof. M.S. Hundal, Dean Academic Affairs welcomed the chief guest and others. Dr. (Ms.) B.K. Sidhu, Executive Director, Centre for Advance Study on Courts and Tribunals presented vote of thanks.
Prof. Brar, in his inaugural address, expressed its reservations that the relationship between the legislature, executive and judiciary is not up to the required constitutional norms. He said that the Supreme Court has given landmark judgments to establish the relationship between right to life and personal liberty. As held in many of the cases, right to life and personal liberty can only be maintained in a clean and healthy environment. But the problem of the day is that many policies and laws has been framed by the Government are not implemented in letter and spirit and failure thereby degrade our environment.
He said that environmental pollution is due to the development in form of industrialization and this issue is not only in Indian but international level. He said that the water and air pollution not effect only human beings, but also effects animals and birds. He said that all adulterated things affect our human body badly. He said that if something relating to environment happened in Amritsar in India, it may also have effect at Lahore in Pakistan. Therefore, the need of hour is to initiate joint ventures to tackle this problem. Scientific approaches needed to be adopted as member of society we have to follow rules and regulations to make peaceful living. He said that health of society depends on the healthy environment. Hence the need for the process such the Amritsar Dialogue.
In his Keynote address, Justice Antonio H. Benjamin highlighted role of Judiciary in the protection of environment and was full of admiration for the significant role played by Indian judiciary. He underscored the need to strengthen collaboration among judges, practitioners, academia, etc.
He also mentioned about coming up of specialized courts in the matter of environment and need for such forums. He appreciated the important step taken by India to have National Green Tribunal. He said that the need of hour is to have more dialogue of such nature in the future to create awareness among masses at international level.
Dr. Balakreshna Rispupati, in his Special address, observed with the little sceptism proleperation of courts of tribunals in the area of environment as well as in other sector like investment, trade, human rights, etc. He also elaborated the role of National Biodiversity Authority as well as State Biodiversity Boards and Local Biodiversity Boards in checking loss of biodiversity as well as engaging in benefit sharing of biological resources.
Prof. Desai in his introductory note said that the Amritsar Dialogue Process seeks to modestly engage in futuristic global debate in scholarly, policy making and adjudicatory circles as regards setting up of specialized ‘green’ courts and tribunals. He said that this dialogue process could try to identify how the green courts & tribunals could contribute to development and enforcement of environmental law as well as to explore measures to effectuate their work to strengthen rule of law, access to ‘green’ justice and how to make it work effectively.
He said that the process could examine in near future the idea of an International Environment Court. It, in turn, also presents a possibility for advanced collaborative research on cutting-edge issues of environmental dispute settlement with other scholarly and judicial institutions.
Expressing his views Prof. Rattan Singh, Head, Department of Law, said that there is need to make the people aware from various dimensions of environment issues so that everybody can contribute a little in the protection of environment. He said that due to the restrained between the legislation and judiciary, sometimes we do not get justice in the real letter and spirit and the poor people suffers. He said that due to the delay in justice and technical procedure of decision making process, the justice does not reaches to the doors of needy people