Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan on Sunday called for greater efforts to ensure that the right to wholesome environment is treated as a fundamental right in the country.
Addressing the 20th annual convocation of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bangalore, Ms. Natarajan said the courts had moved some way towards establishing the right to wholesome environment as a fundamental right.
“If it becomes a fundamental right, then any person can approach the highest court for the enforcement of this right,” she pointed out.
The Minister said she wanted to bring environmental issues into the picture while considering economic development. “We should ensure that environmental management is integrated into policy development at all levels,” she said.
On the importance of the legal profession, Ms. Natarajan said lawyers could become more than merely being an interpreters or upholders of law — they could become the conscience of our society.
Speaking on the occasion, NLSIU Vice-Chancellor R. Venkata Rao noted that two study chairs had been established at the university this year — ‘Urban Poor and the Law’ by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and ‘HAL Defence Public Sector Chair in Business Laws’ by HAL.
Supreme Court Judge Aftab Alam, who was nominated Chancellor for the 20th convocation, was present.