The Madras High Court has given Mother Nature the status of a living person by declaring ‘parens patriae jurisdiction’. This will preserve all the respective rights, duties, and liabilities of nature, just like a living person. The Madras High Court has given nature the status of a ‘living person’ while underlining the importance of natural resources, including trees and plants.
The Madurai bench of the High Court, in its recent order on a petition filed by a former tahsildar-level officer, has made the observation giving special importance to the conservation of nature. Disciplinary action was taken against the officer for allotting a part of the classified government land in the name of some people. He had filed an appeal in the high court to cancel the same.
During the hearing on a petition filed by the officer named A Periyakarupan, who is a resident of Theni, the court said that indiscriminate destruction of nature would create many complications in the ecosystem and endanger the existence of flora and fauna. Periyakarupan was given forced retirement. Justice S. Sreemathi also referred to an earlier judgment of the Nainital High Court in which the court had declared the glacier, including the Gangotri and the Yamunotri rivers, as legal entities to preserve it according to parens patriae jurisdiction.
The court further said, “The past generations have handed over ‘Mother Earth’ to us in its pristine glory and we are morally bound to hand over the same in a similar fashion to the next generation. ‘Mother Nature’ is accorded the rights akin to fundamental rights, legal rights, constitutional rights for its survival, safety, sustenance, and resurgence in order to maintain its status and also to promote its health and well-being.”
The judge modified the punishment of compulsory retirement to stoppage of increment for six months without cumulative effect. The consequential monetary benefits shall be conferred on the petitioner. The court said that this punishment is imposed for the act done against ‘Mother Nature’.