Environmental pollution has been ascertained as a polycentric problem which affects the existence of human beings. Homo sapiens are observed as Mother Nature’s worst enemy and the greatest promise too. With the expansion of urbanization and industrialization, the environment is rapidly getting polluted. The Apex Court of India in various precedents has accorded that right to a pollution-free environment falls within the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. On the contrary, Article 21 also extends its ambit towards the recognition of the right to development and urbanization, which too are considered essential for the growth of the society. Article 21, considered as the “heart” of the Constitution of India, provides an extended meaning to fundamental rights, which is not exhaustive. However, such clashes nullify the rights and provoke the need of a redefinition of the extent of the fundamental rights ensured under Article 21.
The researcher aims to analyse the unrecognized conflict between the two rights affirmed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and also to revisit crucial Indian precedents in the said context. The paper evaluates the origin of the rights and argues about the proposition, to review Article 21 and the judiciary’s arbitrariness towards the conflict. The paper intends to harmonize the collision between the two rights and also to provide various suggestions to resolve the issue.
* Lawyer based out of New Delhi, India.