India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

in The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law: Second Edition, Part IX - International Environmental Law in National/Regional Courts
Edited by Lavanya Rajamani and Jacqueline Peel
Oxford University Press
2021
This chapter focuses on international environmental law (IEL) in the courts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Review of the case law reveals that Indian courts have led the adoption of the IEL principles in this region, with occasional references to IEL by Bangladeshi and Pakistani courts. This appears to follow the trend of non environmental cases, where also the Bangladeshi and Pakistani judiciary is more reluctant than the Indian courts to turn to international law. Although courts in the three countries have engaged with IEL, it has mostly been at a superficial level. Their reliance on IEL is not always accompanied by strong judicial reasoning, making it difficult to determine their content and scope, and even their relevance in particular scenarios. Given development imperatives in these countries, courts are often faced with the ‘economy/development versus environment’ question. In such situations, the courts rely on IEL in an instrumental fashion in support of the final outcome of the case, rather than engaging with the substantive content of the IEL principles.