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Access to justice and sustainable development: the National Green Tribunal of India

Puggioni, Antonio (2016) Access to justice and sustainable development: the National Green Tribunal of India. Advisor: Malaguti, Prof. Maria Chiara. Coadvisor: Masala, Prof. Antonio . pp. 414. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the relevance of the notion of sustainable development – that bridges environmental, economic and social dimensions - has risen to the status of programme for the international community. In this framework, a “fourth”, legal leg of sustainable development has been envisioned as a necessary complement to realise the 2030 Agenda, through the role of inclusive and effective institutions. The role of tribunals and of access to justice assumes a significance insofar as it guarantees the respect of the rule of law that has been highlighted as the fundamental aspect for achieving sustainable development. In this regard, experiences of national implementation of the principle of sustainable development in the field of human rights are crucial for understanding current developments and for studying legal systems that are mutually influencing and reinforcing each other. Concerning the guarantee of environmental rights, three main strategies can be outlined: the maintenance of general jurisdictions; the establishment of “green benches” as sections of ordinary tribunals dealing with environmental cases; the creation of specialised tribunals, with experts in scientific subjects and judges specifically trained in this field. In light of its experience of “low-yielding” judicial institutions, characterised by delays, backlogs and insufficient capacities of case management, India undoubtedly constitutes one of the leading cases for assessing the validity of institutional measures aimed at the application of the concept of sustainable development in the legal field. In this regard, the Parliament of India chose to pursue the third path and enacted the National Green Tribunal Act in 2010. The experience of India is thus analysed considering, on the one hand, the constitutional framework embodied in the protection of environmental rights within the right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, with Articles 48A and 51A(g) and, on the other hand, the interpretation of the courts regarding international law principles (sustainable development, polluter pays and precautionary principle), that are statutorily applied by the National Green Tribunal. The thesis thus analyses the advantages brought forward by the newly established tribunal - expanded access to tribunals, through new rules and a more flexible procedure; enhanced expertise due to the change in the composition of courts; consistency in decisions, thanks to the specialisation - as well as possible drawbacks caused by the resort to creeping jurisdiction and by the monopolisation of the interpretation of sustainable development by a single environmental court.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
PhD Course: Institutions, Politics and Policies
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/191
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27219
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 09:50
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/191

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