The role of the Supreme Court in Environmental Education

In November 1991, advocate M.C. Mehta filed a ‘Public Interest Litigation’ or ‘PIL’ in the Supreme Court of India on the concerns of environment, pollution and community participation.

In the Indian Constitution, Article 21 ensures ‘Right to Life’ as a fundamental right of the citizens, but in order to ensure ‘Right to Life,’ it is important that our environment is clean and livable. He believed that to fight pollution and conserve the environment, awareness among people on such issues is necessary.

M.C. Mehta’s PIL also requested the court to make environmental education compulsory. On the issue of including environmental education in the school syllabi, the Supreme Court asked for written opinions from 28 state governments in 2003 and subsequently passed the order to make it compulsory. In 2004-05, CBSE and NCERT were ordered to submit a detailed environmental education model before the court for implementation. As a result of these events, our schools included environmental education as a compulsory subject.