Access to Environmental Justice in Bangalore: Legal Gateways in Context
SOAS Law Department Working Paper No. 12, 1996
91 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2011
Date Written: March 1, 1996
This paper forms part of a larger comparative study on Access to Environmental Justice in Asia and Africa. The project involves a comparison of seven cities (Accra, Bangalore, Cape Town, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Xiamen), with a focus upon the extent to which citizens are able to use law and legal institutions to shape the physical environment in which they live. In the research project generally, and in this paper in particular, there is no normative statement of what 'justice' should entail. Rather, our preferred approach is to identify what types of environmental claims are made by citizens, and evaluate the extent to which those claims may be pursued, and are pursued, in a legal context. Nor do we adopt a restrictive definition of 'environment'. Since we are concerned mainly with the perceptions of activists and citizens's groups, the applicable definition of environment must have a subjective element – the environment is what people say it is. For the purposes of comparison, there is a commitment to examine at least four areas of concern: 1) land use and functional or public space, 2) quantity and quality of the water supply, 3) the quality of air, and 4) waste and waste disposal. The purpose of this paper is to examine the context in which the citizens of Bangalore can, and do, seek to use legal gateways to get environmental justice, in order to provide a springboard for further research under the Access to Environmental Justice project. It also offers thoughts on possible avenues for further enhancing access to environmental remedies. This account is based upon relevant legislation, newspaper accounts, and a series of personal interviews conducted by Amanda Perry in April-June 1995 and Michael Anderson in March 1996. Finally, it should be added that this paper represents a snapshot of work in progress, and that a more detailed set of findings will be published at a later date.
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