Sanskriti Meena

Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law


Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, C.J. and J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, JJ.


The Supreme Court of India delivered a significant judgement on climate change and human rights in the case of M.K. Ranjitsinh and Ors. v Union of India and Ors. The court in this case recognised the right to be free from adverse effects of climate change. The court expanded the scope of articles 14 and 21 of the constitution of India. The verdict also embraces a recognition-based approach to climate justice by observing how certain people such as tribal people, forest dwellers, and inhabitants of specific geographical areas are vulnerable to climate change. Except for Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Great Indian Bustard has vanished from its natural habitat. The present judgement is an exceptional development for the progress of constitutional climate litigation in India and worldwide. The court took full advantage of the present lack of prior specific constitutional guidance to establish a stronger constitutional foundation for human rights concerning climate change in India. M.K Ranjitsinh v Union of India represented the struggle between the needs of the developing economy on the one hand and the ecological cost arising out of this transition on the other hand. This case is not the last case dealing with such conflicting priorities and thus laying down a right to be free from the adverse effects of climate change.


  • The present case resulted from the filing of a writ petition under Article 32 before the Supreme Court of India. The petitioner of the case M.K. Ranjitsinh requested orders to protect the endangered species of the bird called the Great Indian Bustard which is on the verge of extinction due to factors including climate change and overhead transmission lines. 
  • The Supreme Court on 19th April 2021 directed to limit the construction of overhead transmission lines in an area roughly covering an area of 99,000 square kilometres and ordered the transformation of overhead power lines into underground power lines in areas relevant to the Great Indian Bustard.
  • In response to a request by several Respondent Ministries for revision of this verdict Chief Justice Chandrachud’s bench of the Supreme Court of India began reviewing India’s commitment to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
  • The bench focused on India’s hostile renewable energy targets are an essential part of the nation’s efforts to prevent the effects of climate change and its transition away from fossil fuels is not just a strategic energy goal but an essential requirement for environmental preservation. 



The petitioners believe that the existence of overhead cables is one of the major threats to the survival of the Great Indian Bustard. Petitioner in their application demand an interim direction to order states of Gujarat and Rajasthan to make sure that there are predator proof fencing and controlled grazing and direct the defendant to not allow installation of overhead power lines also to not allow further construction work of windmills and solar infrastructure in potential habitats of The Great Indian Bustard identified by the Wildlife Institute of India.


The respondent argued that they took all the necessary measures for the present issue but as per their view high voltage lines are not the cause of extinction of the Great Indian Bustard rather it was due to collision. They further listed the reasons that why underground high voltage cable is not a feasible option which included underground lines are costly, there is non-availability of cables at 765 Kv level, in case of Damage there will be high cost of repairment and increase in the numbers of joints with length.


Supreme Court held that appropriate steps are needed to be taken to conserve the species of The Great Indian Bustard. There is need to install divertors, for installation of overhead transmission lines a study should be conducted in regard to feasibility of underground transmission lines. After the study if it is concluded that underground transmission cables are nor feasible then divertors should be an option. The court further suggested some options for raising money such as carrying up section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 which builds a corporate social responsibility on a certain amount of net worth or applying section 166(2) of the Companies Act, 2013 which need a company’s director to take decisions in good faith and in the interests of business, environment, and its employees. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 provides significant funding to both national and state authorities with section 4,5 and 6 of the act stating that the fund must be used to reduce dangers to wildlife. Additionally, petitioners stated that a fund established by the state of Rajasthan (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) has received a sum of Rs 47,436 crores out of 54, 685 crores. 


The Great Indian Bustard was once a common bird on the dry plains which has now been reduced to only 150 in number as of the data of 2018. Supreme Court took most suitable decision by considering the arguments of both sides. Court understood the importance of conserving the Great Indian Bustard but at the same time it also considers the concern of respondent that underground transmission lines may not be feasible and gave a judgement that suits the condition of both parties. Appointment of committee will help in reaching a more appropriate solutions for the issue. 

Balance between ecology and development should be achieved in this era of extraordinary human progress and it can only be achieved when government intervenes and make specific environmental rules that have analytical definitions. Such laws would be advantageous as they will impose penalties on those who will violate such laws and Provide details regarding the state of society’s adherence to environmental standards.

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