Indian Rivers Ganga And Yamuna Declared As ‘Human Beings’ With Legal Rights
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Indian Rivers Ganga And Yamuna Declared As ‘Human Beings’ With Legal Rights

ganga and yamuna

In a landmark ruling, the Uttarakhand high court on Monday has declared the two sacred rivers the Ganges and Yamuna are living entities and giving them the same legal rights as human beings.

The court said this to ensure “preservation and conservation of the two rivers and to protect the recognition and faith of society”.

A division bench of Justices Alok Singh and Rajiv Sharma said this situation has arisen since the two rivers are losing their existence.

The move came days after a landmark bill passed in New Zealand making the Whanganui River worshipped by the native Maori people for the first time recognised as a living entity with full legal rights.

Legal experts said this law means if anyone was found polluting these rivers it would amount to harming a human being.

A senior lawyer KH Gupta said, “By this order, the court has recognised ‘fifth generation rights’ which are not limited to humans but extend to the habitat. The order will give a new dimension to the laws framed for the protection of the environment.”

The judges said, “All the Hindus have deep ‘astha’ in the Ganga and the Yamuna and they collectively connect with these rivers. The rivers are central to the existence of half of the Indian population and their health and well being. They have provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to all of us from time immemorial.”

Supreme Court advocate Nipun Saxena said the court’s order was ‘beautiful’ and the judgement was a historic example as the concept of legal person was used which was only used for the idols until now.

Several ministers spent billions of dollars to clean the rivers, also PM Narendra Modi vowed to restore the Ganges’ former glory.

But everyday tons of raw sewage and industrial waste dumped into the Ganges.

An urban water management expert Suresh Rohilla said, “It is the constitutional duty of every citizen to protect our natural resources, including rivers.”

He added, “We are failing in our duty, and we ignore other laws meant to protect our rivers. So simply giving the rivers greater rights do not automatically give them greater protection.”

The high court ordered the central government to constitute a board and make it functional within a period of three months. “We need not remind the state governments that they are bound to obey the orders passed by the central government, failing which consequences may ensue under Article 365 of the Constitution of India”.

Suchismita Biswas
Pen is mightier than swords - these words make me passionate about writing. Except writing I love to travel , love to explore the unknown places, love photography and love listening to music. Also I am an avid reader of books. I'm a simple girl but I am what I am.

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