Public Participation in Indian Environmental Law


This chapter, published in the book Sharing the Costs and Benefits of Energy and Resource Activity: Legal Change and Impact on Communities (Oxford University Press), analyses the legislative and regulatory safeguards that protect and foster public participation in environmental governance in India. It considers the environmental rights jurisprudence that has been developed by the Indian courts and discusses it in the context of the three procedural rights that form part of Rio Principle 10.


In particular, the chapter examines the participatory processes under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. It describes the opportunities provided for public engagement in the two laws and evaluates whether the participatory processes are indeed effective and whether public concerns can influence regulatory outcomes. The chapter concludes that while Indian law and judicial practice supports procedural rights in relation to environmental decision making, in practice, these rights are not just poorly implemented but also in danger of significant erosion.

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Evolution of Institutions for Climate Policy in India


The growing focus on climate policy in India is not matched by an equivalent level of attention to institutions . Effective institutions are also needed for the design, coordination and implementation of policy. This paper examines the functioning of institutions, organised around three periods: pre-2007; 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to mid-2014. Several key themes emerge: First, the formation of climate institutions has often been ad hoc and is inadequately geared to India’s co-benefits based approach to climate policy. Second, there is a lack of continuity in institutions, once established. Third, coordination across government has been uneven and episodic. Fourth, while various efforts at knowledge generation have been attempted, they do not add up to a mechanism for sustained and consistent strategic thinking on climate change. Fifth, the overall capacity within government remains limited. Sixth, capacity shortfalls are exacerbated by closed structures of governance that only partially draw on external expertise.

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Climate Change through the Lens of Energy Transformation

This chapter, published in ‘New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene’, explores existing conversations around energy transformation for a New Earth and puts forward ideas toward a conversation that might bridge the divide between how energy is supplied (how we produce) versus those who emphasize the demand side (how we use). The author approaches the problem by looking at four overarching narrative frames around energy and the implications of each for how energy is institutionalized and how it might be transformed. The four narrative frames explored are are ​​climate change, energy security, energy poverty, and local environmental pollution.

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