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CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENT – Learning & Advocacy (“CELA”)

SVKM’s NMIMS School of Law’s Centre for Environment established in the year 2016, proposes to be one of Learning and Advocacy in the field of Environmental Law (“CELA”). A rich resource center, CELA aims to be a full- fledged “Green” arm of School of Law, having faculty coordinator and a core team of research scholars working on critical environmental issues by providing a platform for learning, research, , policy analysis, capacity building and consultation with all stake- including grass-root people, industry, legal experts, environmentalists and concerned State authorities. To meet its objectives, CELA seeks to build linkages with Government and Non-Government (NGOs).

Constitutional Mandate for Environment Protection

Taking inspiration from the landmark UN Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm in 1972 also popularly known as the “Stockholm Conference”, the law makers in India, inserted provisions in the Constitution which obligates the State and the citizens to protect and improve the natural environment under Articles 48A and 51A(g) respectively. Thus by responding to the international call, the Indian Constitution, perhaps became the 1st Constitution in the world to attempt to secure the protection of our fragile environment.

Genesis of the problem

The problem of environmental pollution is transboundary in nature, thus affecting one and all. On a global plane, environmental threats are noticeable in various forms for instance, acid rains, ozone layer depletion, global warming and climate change, to name a few. Today the interaction of human beings with nature is so extensive that environmental issues have assumed such proportions to affect all humanity. Industrialization, urbanization, population explosion, over-exploitation of resources and disruption of natural ecological balances are some of the major challenges we are facing, not only in India but also globally. The conditions prevalent today requires knowledge, capacity and a concerted effort of all stakeholders to bring about any effective change and to make the system of regulatory environment management and ecological conservation more meaningful and proactive. With the proliferating environmental issues in the society today, we conceptualized the idea to set up a Centre to contribute towards the betterment of the environment. Our aim is to raise such concerns and issues, participate in seeking answers and more importantly disseminating the answers and possibly transform them into policy and practice.

Majority of the population today, although aware about the climatic changes and other critical environmental issues, do not have a thorough understanding of the same. For example, although knowing about the existence of greenhouse gases, many people are not aware about the science behind it as well as its effect. The main objective of the Centre is to disseminate information that even a lay person will understand such that every person can contribute towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Green Vision & Mission

CELA thus seeks to aid Ecological conservation through strategic legal interventions by being an effective platform for dialogue, discussion and debate on critical environmental issues.

CELA aims to educate and empower all concerned to strive for and secure environmental conservation & justice.

In particular, CELA seeks to:-

  • Serve as a nodal Centre in the field of Environmental law by promoting, encouraging and initiating research related to critical environmental issues;
  • Equip law students with a thorough understanding of Environmental law by organizing training programs, seminars, expert guest lectures and moot activities.
  • Encouraging students and budding lawyers to conduct field research and assist leading professionals on environmental issues amongst others so as to enable them to apply their legal knowledge practically.
  • To aid law students and legal professionals in the art of environmental lawyering.
  • Create a brand of “Environmentalists” in society including Research scholars, Academicians, Teachers, Lawyers, Adjudicators and Activists to further the cause of environmental justice.
  • Capacity Building of concerned law students and concerned stake holders with a view to achieve the following:-

    a. Advice and Assistance to Government and Non-Government Authorities
    b. Drafting and reviewing legal instruments and policies on environmental matters
    c. Assisting implementation authorities/agencies
    d. Assisting local bodies such Municipal Corporations, Pollution Control Boards etc.
    e. Training budding lawyers in the pursuit of environmental justice.
    f. Evolving strategies of better environmental governance
  • Public participation in environmental law-making through analysis of environmental legislations and policies and suggesting ways to better the same;
  • Further public awareness and community conscience of environmental issues of local, national and international significance through debates, discussions and disseminating information concerning the environment.
  • Work on the possibility to align the curriculum for the subject of environmental law with the objectives of the Centre to aid holistic learning of the subject as well as further the objectives of Centre.

Areas of Green Concern

  • Pollution – Air/Water/Noise
  • CRZ
  • Biodiversity
  • Waste Management
  • Urban Environment
  • Wildlife
  • Energy
  • Disaster Management
  • Environmental Audits
  • Land Pollution
  • Sustainability

Green Reporting

CELA seeks to be a forum for knowledge dissemination by reporting developments in the field of environmental law including recent Judgments, ongoing Court cases, Changes in the Legal and Policy framework, Executive Action; Environmental challenges facing India and the world amongst other information through publication of Articles/Journals/Newsletters/Hand-outs and such other literature.

Green Activities/Plans of CELA

  • Organize events such as marathons, workshops, convene debates and discussions in order to create awareness about environmental problems and solutions.
  • Indulge in research projects and activities in collaboration with other organizations dealing with environmental issues.
  • Organize Tree planting; Cleanliness & similar other drives and campaigns in and around the locality.
  • Learn and conduct environmental audits.
  • Conduct seminars/talks to vent views about environmental issues and thereby collaborate with various stakeholders in doing the same.
  • Organize competitions within the college premises such as poster making, slogans, Essay, Mock/Moot court and other competitions to raise environmental awareness.
  • Organizing Training programs involving problem solving exercises and moot activities.
  • Initiating short course/diploma/certificate programs on Environmental Law to further body of knowledge on the subject.
  • Organizing and conducting workshops on environmental issues.
  • Aiding/Assisting Corporate/Industry in their Environmental Initiatives
  • Assisting Environmentalist in furthering cause of environmental justice.

Green Collaborations

  • Corporate firms dealing with CSR and activities of like nature
  • Law firms litigating on environmental issue
  • NGOs and activists dedicated to environment
  • Think tanks and other such research organizations indulging in field work and research relating to environment
  • Other organizations of similar nature

The Green Team

Faculty Co-coordinator
- Prof. Nadisha Vazirani

Advisory Body
- Dr. Rhishikesh Dave, Dean, School of Law
- Others

Committee Members
Faculty & concerned students of SVKM’s NMIMS School of Law

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