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Hemandh Viswanath, MA in History, Pondicherry Central University.


Environmentalism is not a fixed concept. It is always evolving and is influenced by its context. This also applies to Indian environmentalism. The concept of environmentalism has developed and changed throughout the years. There is a rapid evolution in the Indian legislation on the environment after independence. We can see environmental laws even from ancient times which include Buddhism and Jainism rules. The legacy of these ancient laws continues to the medieval and British eras and the coming of modern legislation on environmental laws in India. A great sense of concern has been shown by the legislature and even the Indian judiciary regarding the environment with its landmark judgements. Some of the important landmark legislations are: -

  1. Policy and Laws in Ancient India (500 BC-1638 AD)

  2. Policy and Laws in Medieval India (1638-1800 AD)

  3. Shore Nuisance (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853

  4. The Merchant Shipping Act of 1858

  5. The Indian Fisheries Act, 1897

  6. The Bengal Smoke Nuisance Act of 1905

  7. Bombay Smoke Nuisance Act of 1912

  8. Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1912

  9. Indian Forest Act, 1927

  10. Wildlife protection act, 1972

  11. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960

  12. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

  13. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

  14. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1981

  15. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

  16. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

  17. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

  18. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977

  19. Ganga Action Plan, 1986

  20. National Water Policy

  21. Coastal Regulation Zone

  22. Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal

  23. Interstate River Water Disputes Act

  24. Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal

  25. National Green Tribunal Act

The Hon'ble Supreme Court through its various judgements also held that the right to life includes the right to a clean environment, drinking water and pollution-free atmosphere. These judgments include the famous Taj Mahal Case, Dehradun Valley Case, Smoking in Public Places Case, Pollution in Delhi Case, Sri Ram Food and Fertilizer Case, Public Health Case, Public Park Case and several landmark judgments on Sustainable development. The policies regarding the environment have changed very rapidly through legislation as well as judicial interpretations but still, there is a need for further growth and development in this regard. The environmental protection legislation in many countries is not effective in the case of India. The regulations are only effective if they are properly enforced. The proper enforcement of these laws was not done in India as of now. Because of the huge population of India, there have been enormous demands placed on the environment and these regulations are not efficient in dealing with the current scenario.

Keywords: Environment, Legislation, Pollution.


A Reference to The Ecological Legislations and Governmental Actions for The Protection and
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Journal Details
Abbreviation: NLR 

ISSN:   2582-8479 (O)

Year of Starting: 2020

Place: New Delhi, India

Accessibility: Open Access

Peer Reviewer: Double Blind



​All research articles published in NLR and are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.

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