Jindal Global University Launches Environmental Law Course: One year Masters Programme in Collaboration with WWF-India

New Delhi, 27th March 2019 : With global warming taking its toll, pollution levels reaching a terrifying level and infrastructural development of city life harming the nature and ecosystem at length, its high time to save the environment for human’s own good. But to achieve that, the foremost necessity is to sensitize and educate the society about the causes and effects of environmental damage and climate change due to it. Only then it would be possible to combat the threats and come up with solutions through environmental law and justice. And this is what Jindal Global University (JGU) is attempting, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund India. The two premiere institutions joined hands for the JGU-WWF India LLM Programme in Environmental Law, Energy and Climate Change which has been launched. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the two authorities regarding this.

The one year LLM course consists of core/foundational and elective courses covering national and international environmental laws, energy laws and policies, climate change governance and adaptation, renewable energy development in India and field trips. The objective of the programme is not only to study the relationship between environment and climate change as well as the role of law, judiciary, resolution mechanisms but the alternate energy solutions and how people are dealing with climate changes, environmental laws and implementation of available solutions. Fresh graduates of law and those working in Government organizations will be eligible for this after passing through an entrance examination and interview.

Delighted to announce the course, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Proctor, JGU, and Director, Centre for Post Graduate Legal Studies, Jindal Global Law School said, “We have many things right in legal education in India. But most of the courses available are undergraduate in nature. Hence this decision of coming up with this post graduate course which also coincides with the recent UGC regulation.”

Informing about the course, Professor (Dr.) C Rajkumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, JGU said, “The issue of environmental protection and climatic changes is of foremost interest when it comes to study of law. Hence this one year masters course is designed to deal with environmental law and policies. The faculty will have many of the judges, both of national and international fame. We have arranged for scholarships too. Those who want to pursue this course but are unable to afford can avail of it.”

The launch event was graced by Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta, Judge, Supreme Court of India. As a part of the Green Law Lecture on Environmental Justice and the Rule of Law: Role of the Judiciary and Judges, both shared their valuable opinions and case studies regarding the same.

In his speech, Justice Chandrachud elaborated on the pollution scenario of the country, critical condition of the cities and the environmental threats that are looming large. According to him, “Sustainable environment can be achieved only through the implementation of law. Since it’s the development activities, that is damaging the nature and ecological balance, the role of judiciary is of immense importance to create a favourable situation. Sustainable development has to be in a manner that it will not compromise the future and put it to climate risks. Also, natural resources and the right to clean and healthy environment should be accessible by both the have’s and have not’s equally.”

Justice Gupta too highlighted the need for equal access to environmental justice. But he added, “Court and judiciary can just pass orders. To reach the desired solution, administration and public will have to come forward and act as well. Otherwise the country will keep moving from critical to extremely unhealthy environment leading to further damages and climatic changes. And for this one needs not only education, but sensitivity too.” He sounded hopeful about that sensitivity being inculcated in the students of this new LLM course by JGU, in collaboration with WWF-India.

The event also saw a day-long conference on Adapting Environmental Laws for Effective Climate Response that discussed the threats faced by the environment and climate and their consequences, the role of law to get things straight and achieve environmental justice as well as the steps that need to be mandated to reach that point. The sessions graced by eminent Judges and academic people perfectly set the context of JGU coming up with this new course.

In his welcome address, Ravi Singh, Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer, WWF-India explained the role of law in creating a healthy and clean environment around and thereby preventing the abrupt changes in climate. “The abrupt changes in climate these days are alarming. These changes and protection of environment comes under the purview of law and policies. Aiming to create awareness about this and its implications, Green Law lecture was initiated in 1998 to promote environmental law. Now law institutions and global law schools are taking this ahead. The course launched today is a step towards it only.”

Moulika Arabhi, Advisor, Centre for Environmental Law, WWF India feels, “Law and policies of the country need to be stringent to combat climate change and its adverse effects. Economic development, decentralized Government mechanisms and judiciary collaboration need to go hand in hand to deal with climate change issues and adaptation to them through policies implementation. Environment law courses and conferences like this provide the necessary understanding.”

According to Hon’ble Justice Swatanter Kumar, Former Chair Person, National Green Tribunal and Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, “We want to imagine Delhi has good air, clean water, no carbon emission, no traffic mess and that children don’t have to wear masks anymore. Because one of the best known principle is, you give earth to your next generation, if not better, then in its existing good condition. At the current state, we need to work out to protect our environment. Expansion of article 21 says, right to live implies right to a clean environment. Depreciation and disruption of environment is not seen, but felt. Hence, there should be sensitization of everybody regarding this. Because without the consciousness, environmental justice and its implementation can’t be achieved.”

The other speakers like Dr. Sejal Worah, Programme Director, WWF-India points out how India is becoming worse hit by the unusual climatic disorders and the consequent impact on GDP, while Hon’ble Justice Michael D. Wilson and Hon’ble Justice Sabrina McKenna, Judges of Supreme Court of Hawaii, USA talk about the environmental battle ground and the aftermath, discuss methods of combat and the harm already been created. Both of them feel that to save and protect the environment, not only the law but the entire human race has to come forward and act together.  

There were also thematic sessions discussing legal and policy measures to promote energy efficiency and renewable resources and the methods to strengthen adaptation and resilience to climate change.

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