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Article 21: 

No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

"Article 21: protects right to life as fundamental right. Enjoyment of life and its attainment including right to life with human dignity encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservations of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation without which life cannot  be enjoyed. Any contra acts or actions  would cause environmental pollution. Environmental, ecological, air, water, pollution etc. should be regarded as amounting to violation of Article 21."

The Supreme Court in Virender Gaur v . State of Haryana, (1995) 2 SCC 577 (at 580).

"Even though, laws have been passed for the protection of environment, the enforcement of the same has been tardy, to say the least.. The effort of this Court while dealing with public interest litigation, relating  to environmental issues, is to see that the executive authorities take steps for implementation and  enforcement of law... Passing of appropriate orders requiring the implementation of the law cannot be regarded as the court having usurped the functions of the legislature or the executive. The order are passed and directions  are issued by the court in discharge of its judicial function.

The Supreme Court in Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (1996) 5 SCC 281 (at 300, 294).


The Supreme Court by a dynamic interpretation of Article 21 has ensured that the right to life and liberty will be meaningless without sustainable development. With the creation of a 'Green Bench' the range of cases where the Court has intervened extends from closure of polluting industries, control on vehicular pollution, regulation of traffic, cleaning of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna to prohibition of felling of trees in forest areas.



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