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Mother Nature as a Living Being with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities

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Mother Nature as a Living Being with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities

Recently, the Madras High Court has accorded the status of a living being to nature along with its legal status.

The Madras High Court has accorded the status of a “legal entity” to nature using the jurisdiction of the parens patriae (guardian of the nation). Along with this, the court has also directed the central and state governments to protect it.

Earlier, in the year 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court had given equal legal status to the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. However, this decision was later overruled by the Supreme Court.

Also, in the year 2018, the Uttarakhand High Court had declared ‘the entire animal kingdom, including birds and aquatic creatures, as a legal entity.

Importance of this decision

  • The Court has ruled that a living person has rights, duties and obligations of the same nature.
  • The court also held that the natural environment is part of the basic human rights of the ‘right to life’.
  • It extends environmental law. Also, it emphasizes the change in attitude and behavior in the use of natural resources.

Issues related to the decision –

  • Ambiguous Definition: There is a lack of proper definition of what “nature” is.
  • Loco parentis: In a court of law, loco parentis would be required to represent nature. Thus a legal issue may emerge in its financing and implementation. (Loco Parentis- Situational Parent in Absence of Actual Parent)
  • Conflict in Rights: This decision may create conflict of interest with other rights given to human beings like right to water and right to land.

Parents patriae means “parent of the nation” in Latin. This concept allows the state to be the guardian/guardian of the rights of those institutions which are unable to fight for their rights.

Source – The Hindu

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