Srinagar: The four-day training programme on “Natural Resources Law, Sustainable Development and Public Interest Advocacy” began at Nowgam campus of Central University of Kashmir on Thursday.
The professional development programme meant for advocates, law teachers and law officers has been organized by School of Legal Studies, CUK in collaboration with International Bar Association (IBA), Chair on Continuing Legal Education (CCLE), National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bengaluru and Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training Trivandrum and Department of Law, University of Kashmir.
In his welcome address, officiating Vice Chancellor CUK, Prof Mehraj Din Mir said: “Environment is a very sensitive issue and we need to sensitize law professionals more and more about this. We will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NLSIU to facilitate further research on environmental law.”
Speaking on the occasion, eminent jurist and Vice Chancellor of NLSIU, Prof Venkata Rao said: “Have we forgotten the fact that we have burrowed the nature from our ancestors…we are not the last…we have to pass it to posterity.” Prof Rao quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said, “We have not created nature, let’s not destroy it.”
Prof Rao differentiated environment from development as: “Environment is where we live and development is what we do. How can we spoil where we live with what we do?”
“As UN has already predicted if there will be a future war, it will be over water,” he said, adding,
“This war has already begun at minor level when we see a women quarrelling on street tap water.” Referring to water scarcity, Prof. Rao cited the example of Rajasthan where women in some places have to walk 15 kms to fetch water.
“This practice has caused orthopedic diseases in majority of women,” he added.
In the post-lunch session, eminent jurist Prof Madhav Menon stressed on changing the name and style of course curriculum of environment law.
“We should look at environment law not with conventional style. What is being taught by such rigid environmental law syllabus…this is not the approach where we teach environmental laws and court decisions,” he said.
Prof Menon suggested that modern societies should know how natural resources are being used “and for that firstly the name of the course should be changed from ‘environmental law’ to ‘natural resources law”.
He briefly talked about the encroachment of Jhelum River. “Encroachng space of Jhelum river and building structures on that will definitely bring floods and if such big rivers are diverted they will wash away cities,” Prof Menon said.
He cited the example of Maldives where people have to take sea water and then purify that before drinking. “Last time when the purifying industry was shut, whole water supply was closed for the country…we should not let that happen here.”
According to Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, Head, Department of Law, CUK, various themes proposed to be deliberated during the development programme include Environment as a Human Right, Inter-Generational Equity & Corporate Social Responsibility, Forest Laws, Biodiversity, Sustainable Development, Management of Ecological Upheavals in Third World, Water Resources Law & Management, and Environmental Dispute Settlement. A session will also be dedicated to Environmental Law Teaching & Research.
Prominent scholars Prof. R Venkata Rao, Vice-Chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Prof. Madhav Menon, Prof. Bharat Desai, Adv Videh Upadhya, Prof. MK Ramesh and Prof. Mehraj udDin Mir, Officiating Vice-Chancellor, CUK, will be resource persons for various sessions.
The valedictory function of the programme will be held on 17 May at Department of Law, Kashmir University.