The CMR University School of Legal Studies in Bengaluru has established the Centre for Environmental Studies: Law and Policy to promote a sense of responsibility among students towards environmental protection and preservation. The Centre will focus on research into various aspects of environmental laws and policies in India and abroad.
Karnataka High Court Judge, Honourable Justice Siddappa Sunil Dutt Yadav, declared the Centre open through a virtual event. In his inaugural address, Justice Siddappa spoke about the role of courts in protecting the environment. While discussing the evolution of environmental jurisprudence, he referred to Stockholm Declaration, Bhopal Gas Tragedy and the Ramsar Convention, which led to a resolve to protect the environment.
Analysing the development of environmental jurisprudence in relation to the Water Act and the Constitution, Justice Yadav emphasised on the role of NGOs and environmental activists in further strengthening the laws. “Several decisions led to the development of principles like Intergenerational Equity, Polluter Pays Principle, Precautionary Principle, and Sustainable Development,” he added.
Well-known environmentalist A. N. Yellappa Reddy, in his remarks, referred to the recent disaster at Uttarakhand, and went on to analyse the history of the region and the relevance of Deodar trees to it. “These trees were recklessly cut by the British and this initiated the recurrent destructions at Uttarakhand. Communities were given the responsibility of protecting biodiversity of the regions they lived. In the process of development, governments have lost track of the environment,” he added.
The virtual ceremony was attended by other dignitaries Vijay Kumar Gogi, IFS, Prof. Dr. T. R. Subramanya, Dean, CMR University School of Legal Studies and Prof VJ Praneshwaran, Vice Principal of CMR University School of Legal Studies.
According to Prof Subramanya, the Centre will Inspire and educate students by providing hands on advocacy experience and direct exposure to the challenges of environmental law. “It will engage and collaborate with local communities and environmental groups. It will also advocate for reforms in environmental laws through scientifically sound and pragmatic legislative proposals among other things,” he asserted.
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