Prelims level : Social issues, Environmental Conservation Mains level : GS-II Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the judiciary
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Why in News?

  • Recently, the Supreme Court of India held that the Government has no right to transfer “invaluable” community resources like village water ponds to powerful people and industrialists for commercialisation of the property.

About the Judgement:

  • Resources which are available for everyone’s use in a community, village or town are called community resources. For example- ponds, playgrounds, public parks etc.
  • The judgment came on a plea against the transfer of village ponds’ sites in the National Capital Region to some private industrialists by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to intervene on the plea but the apex court ordered the authorities and the industrialists to remove all obstructions and restore the water bodies within three months.
  • SC said the State cannot deprive the villagers of their existing source of water and other community resources even after the promise of providing them with an alternative source. There is no guarantee that the adverse effect of destroying the existing water body would be offset and people would be compelled to travel miles to access the alternative site.

Importance of Community Resources:

  • These common areas like water ponds and wells are the lifeline of village communities and often sustain various chores and provide resources necessary for life.
  • It is necessary to protect village commons for safeguarding the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 of our Constitution.
  • Article 21 guarantees not just right to life but Right to live with dignity, Right to decent environment, Right to livelihood.
  • It is fundamental, non-deprivable and is available to every person. Even the State cannot violate that right.
  • Depriving villagers of existing source of water and creating an alternative site is similar to that of “Mechanical application of environmental protection”.
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