Siddharth Singh

Decoding the Experiences of the Indian Judiciary with Sustainable Development

March 9, 12:00 PM

Recently, India has become the fifth-largest economy in the world and is projected to achieve USD 5 trillion economy mark by 2025. However, the adverse impacts of this tremendous growth prospects also stress the natural resource base of the country and threaten its environment on multiple fronts. India struggles with air pollution in several major cities, and around 70 to 80% of untreated household wastewater and 60% of industrial effluents are directly released into water bodies resulting in water pollution. Likewise, mega infrastructure projects pose severe challenges to forest and wildlife conservation and biodiversity loss.

Moreover, these environmental harms are not experienced equally by everyone and disproportionately affect vulnerable and marginalized communities. Individuals from rural and poor societies are more exposed to contaminated drinking water, air and water-borne diseases, floods, droughts, and health and nutritional issues. Tribal and Indigenous communities are often displaced from their native lands due to industrial, mining, and other developmental purposes. Some examples include the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam and the 2007 Blue Lady case. Nevertheless, in the 2013 Vedanta case, the Supreme Court of India recognized the customary and religious rights of indigenous communities. Indian judiciary has played a commendable role in promoting sustainable development in the country; however, its decisions often raise social justice questions. The talk will reflect upon the concerns relating to the environment-development discourse in India and how the judiciary has responded.

About the Speaker

Mr. Siddharth Singh is a Ph.D. Candidate in International Environmental Law at the Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University (SAU), established by the SAARC countries in New Delhi, India. He is a recipient of the Senior Research Fellowship (SRF), a research grant awarded to doctoral scholars by the Government of India through the University Grants Commission (UGC). He is a current Fulbright scholar (2022-23) from India in the United States. He is appointed as an Honorary Associate (Visiting Scholar) to pursue his research on sustainable development and environmental justice issues at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI.

Mr. Singh pursued a Five-Year Integrated Law graduation (B.A. LL.B.) from the University of Allahabad, Prayagraj, India. He completed his Two-Year Master’s degree (LL.M.) in International Legal Studies at SAU, New Delhi, India. Mr. Singh is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) Asia and the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE). He frequently participates in legal and interdisciplinary conferences and has several national and foreign journal publications