Environmental Governance and Policy


1 January 2019

Public Trust Doctrine in Indian Environmental Law

Shibani Ghosh


In this chapter published in Indian Environmental Law: Key Concepts and Principles, Ghosh traces the growth and application of the public trust doctrine, and explains why it is difficult to identify how the doctrine could lend predictability to decision-making regarding public trust properties. She explains the contours of the doctrine as inferred from Indian judicial pronouncements – the source of the doctrine, properties that are held in public trust, and principles that are applied by courts while implementing the doctrine. Rather than insisting on its redundancy, she argues that it is desirable to make the doctrine more relevant, and proposes ways in which it may afford greater protection to natural resources held in trust.

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