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ENVIRONMENTAL PERSONHOOD

By K. Syed Yaseen Kamran, Swetha. S & Umamaheswari. U

In the past two decades, various countries around the globe have recognized the legal personhood of rivers, forests and other natural entities. Ecuador granted constitutional rights to nature in 2008. Likewise, Bolivia legislatively designated mother nature as a holder of legal rights in 2010. In 2017, the New Zealand government passed the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act which made the river Whanganui a legal person. Following the steps of other countries, The High Court of Uttarakhand acknowledged the personhood of river Ganga and river Yamuna. The progressive judgments declared the rights of the river to be the same as humans. The Court also set up a model of guardianship to represent the interest of the rivers. The granting of personhood to natural entities have been necessary to protect and preserve the gifts of nature. Thus, the paper strives to throw light on the emergence of the idea of Environmental Personhood in the works of professor Christopher Stone. The authors also analyse methods adopted by India and other countries in acknowledging the juristic personality of natural entities. Further, the paper brings forth the shortcomings of judgments passed by the Uttarakhand High Court and argues for establishing the personhood of the rivers through parliamentary legislation.

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