Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) in association with WWF-India has launched a Masters Programme in Environmental Law, Energy and Climate Change, an official said on Thursday.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed between the two institutions here on Wednesday in the presence of Supreme Court judges Justices D Y Chandrachud and Deepak Gupta besides two Judges from the Supreme Court of Hawaii, USA, Justices Michael D Wilson and Justice Sabrina McKenna.
The course is open to law graduates who want to develop specialist legal knowledge on national and global environmental issues. The law professionals working in the field of environment will also be benefitted by this programme, the official said.
Speaking on the occasion, Justice Chandrachud termed climate change as an existential threat and the most important issue facing humanity today. He spoke of the threat posed by water scarcity in India as well as across the world and the extinction of various species due to global warming and the marked increase in natural disasters due to deforestation and climate change that has resulted in environmental refugees.
Speaking about the role of judiciary in environmental justice, he said: "The rule of law in environmental governance is seen as an aid in recognising of environmental injustices faced by vulnerable groups such as indigenous tribes, women and livelihood reliant communities."
"It seeks to empower them. Ecological sustainability cannot exist without the rule of law," he added.
Justice Deepak Gupta highlighted the need for equal access to environmental justice and urged the civil society to be more aware and proactive in protecting the environment.
"Court and judiciary can just pass orders. To reach the desired solution, administration and public will have to come forward and act as well," he said.
"Otherwise, the country will keep moving from critical to an extremely unhealthy environment leading to further damages and climatic changes. And for this one needs not only education but sensitivity too," he added.
Speaking about the new course, Professor C Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, JGU said, "The theme of environmental law and climate change is probably the most important issue that universities and law schools should be concerned about."
"There is a sense of responsibility on the part of higher education institutions to be able to address issues that are going to have significant implications for the future," he added.
"Environment is one such thing, but even more importantly, legal institutions and laws have a very significant role in speaking truth to power. Public policy and law have that goal and with that objective, we are launching the Master of Laws programme in collaboration with WWF-India," Kumar said.