ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rivers as Legal Persons

A Regressive Step

The recent decision by the Uttarakhand High Court to declare the Ganga and Yamuna rivers as “juristic persons” is skewed and based on flawed legal reasoning. The judgment threatens to undermine years of progress made in environmental jurisprudence and fails to serve the purposes of environmental conservation and sustainable use of river water.

The High Court of Uttarakhand has consecrated two Indian rivers as juristic persons along the lines of Hindu idols, companies and the Church in a stand-alone judgment on 20 March 2017 (Mohd Salim v State of Uttarakhand, 2017). A division bench comprising Justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh declared,

the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams, every natural water flowing with flow continuously and intermittently of these rivers, as juristic/legal persons/living entities having the status of legal persons with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve the rivers. (Paragraph 19)

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Updated On : 28th Jul, 2017
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