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Supreme Court: Forests in India are a National Asset

Why is it in the news?

  • The Supreme Court of India, in the State of Telangana vs Mohd. Abdul Qasim case, declared that forests in India are a national asset.

More about the news

  • The judgment emphasized the need to transition from an anthropocentric approach, which prioritizes human needs, to an eco-centric approach, which prioritizes the needs of nature.
  • This approach recognizes humans as one part of life on Earth and advocates living within ecological limits rather than considering humans as the sole purpose of environmental protection.
  • The judgment highlighted the financial wealth generated by forests, noting that a country with excess forest cover could sell its excess carbon credits, with a carbon sink of about 24,000 mt of CO2 worth approximately $120 billion.
  • Forests were recognized for their role in mitigating climate change, with the judgment citing a report by the RBI indicating that the effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, could cost India’s economy 2.8% of its GDP.
  • The judgment endorsed the concept of “Green Accounting,” which evaluates a nation’s wealth, including its natural assets, and highlighted the significant benefits, both tangible and intangible, of such an approach.
Key Supreme Court Judgements

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath (2000): Stressed the importance of considering Article 48A and 51A of the Constitution in light of Article 21, stating that any disturbance to the basic environmental elements necessary for life would be hazardous to life within the meaning of Article 21.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Municipal Corpn. of Greater Mumbai v. Ankita Sinha (2022): Emphasized the concepts of Environmental Justice and Environmental Equity.


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