Nature Conservation Day 2022
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Madras HC declares ‘Mother Nature’ as ‘living being’ with legal status

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The Madras High Court has invoked the “parens patriae jurisdiction” to declare Mother Nature as a Living Being with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, in order to preserve and conserve them.

The Madurai bench of the HC in its recent order placed immense importance on conserving nature, while dealing with a petition from a former tahsildar-level official who sought to quash the disciplinary proceedings against him for allegedly granting patta (land deed) for government land classified as “Forest Poramboke Land” to certain individuals.

Justice S Srimathy recalled an earlier judgement of the Uttarakhand High Court, where it had invoked “parens patriae jurisdiction” (parent of the nation jurisdiction) and declared the glaciers including Gangotri and Yamunotri rivers as legal entities to preserve and conserve them.

The judge said the past generations have handed over Mother Earth in its pristine glory and that we are morally bound to hand over the same to the next generation.

“It is right time to declare/confer juristic status to the “Mother Nature”. Therefore this Court by invoking “parens patriae jurisdiction” is hereby declaring the “Mother Nature” as a “Living Being” having legal entity/legal person/juristic person/juridical person/moral person/artificial person having the status of a legal person, with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, in order to preserve and conserve them.”

“They are also accorded the rights akin to fundamental rights/legal rights/constitutional rights for their survival, safety, sustenance and resurgence in order to maintain its status and also to promote their health and wellbeing. The State Government and the Central Government are directed to protect the “Mother Nature” and take appropriate steps to protect Mother Nature in all possible ways,” the court said.

The petitioner, had prayed for quashing of disciplinary proceedings and direct the respondents to sanction full pension and death-cum-retirement gratuity (DCRG) to him with arrears from the date of retirement with 7.5 per cent interest.

The respondents included the Tamil Nadu Principal Revenue Secretary.

The judge said since the patta granted in respect of the land in question in Meghamalai was cancelled and the necessary entries made in the village accounts, “the punishment ought to be modified.”

“Therefore, this Court is of the considered opinion that the punishment of compulsory retirement ought to be modified as stoppage of increment for six months without cumulative effect and consequential monetary benefits shall be conferred on the petitioner.”

“This punishment is imposed for the act done against mother nature. The respondents are directed to implement this punishment within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of the order,” the judge said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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