Issue 15

A Litigating Life: Meet the Indian environmental lawyer who won the Alternative Nobel 2021

Meera Anand
An environmental lawyer for over 15 years, Ritwick Dutta, in his video conversation with Meera Anand, sheds light on the urgent need for environmental democracy in India.

‘Between January and June 2021, the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife considered a total of 62 proposals in four meetings, out of which 29 proposals were for diversion within protected areas.’ This is from a vigilant status report published by LIFE (Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment), an Indian environment law non-profit. Timely status reports and policy briefs offering accessible legal analysis on the workings of national environmental institutions is a part of their initiative. Winning a landmark case against the British mining company Vedanta in Odisha, the Supreme Court of India reiterated that consent of the local community is key, LIFE has also been instrumental in the setting up of the National Green Tribunal in India. In September 2021, LIFE was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize ‘for innovative legal work empowering communities to protect their resources in the pursuit of environmental democracy in India.’ Meera Anand speaks to Ritwick Dutta, one of the two founding environmental lawyers of LIFE, on a 15-year journey, in providing judicial access to Indians at the climate change frontlines.

Part of Issue 15 of Open Axis, which focuses on interviews with path-breaking Indians responding to climate change challenges.

Video: 15 min

Meera Anand is a third year undergraduate student from Ashoka University. She is currently pursuing Economics as a major and Media Studies as a minor.

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noderivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis).

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