School navigation

Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Saving the Taj Mahal, and Other Stories from the Frontlines of Indian Environmental Litigation

Date: 12:00pm - 1:30pm PDT October 18, 2010 Location: Standard Insurance Conference Center, 900 SW 5th

  • Event Image

Standard Insurance Conference Center, 900 SW 5th


and Other Stories from the Frontlines of Indian Environmental Litigation

featuring M. C. Mehta

M. C. Mehta is one of the world’s most renowned and successful activists. A lawyer by profession and a committed environmentalist by choice, he has made the fight to protect India’s environment his life’s mission. As a pioneer environmental activist he is proof that one man can make a difference.

Mr. Mehta  has been a constant thorn in the side of polluting industries for nearly 30 years. In a  series of high-profile cases, he forced companies to stop polluting sites such as the Ganges River and Taj Mahal. His litigation formed the foundation for the development of environmental jurisprudence in India and South Asia and established the following seminal principles in Indian law:

  • The constitutional right to life extends to the right to a clean and healthy environment.
  • Courts are empowered to grant financial compensation as a remedy for the infringement of the right to life.
  • Polluters should be held absolutely liable for harm caused by their hazardous activities.
  • Public resources that are sensitive, fragile or of high ecological value should be maintained and preserved for the public.
  • The government has a responsibility to prevent environmental degradation. Even if scientific uncertainty exists, the implementation of preventative measures should not be delayed wherever there is the possibility of serious or irreversible damage.

India’s “One Man Enviro-legal Brigade” has received several prestigious awards, including the Governor’s Gold Medal, the Goldman Environmental Prize, considered an alternative Nobel Prize in USA and Europe, the UN’s Global 500 Award for 1993 and the Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service for 1997. He is the author of “In the Public Interest,” a three-volume set of judgments and orders in 18 public interest cases.

Attend this unique CLE to hear Mr. Mehta discuss some of his landmark cases. To help set the context for Mr. Mehta’s talk, Lewis & Clark Law Professor Susan Mandiberg will provide an overview of the major differences between Indian Public Interest Litigation and U.S. class actions and citizen suits.  Lewis & Clark Dean Robert Klonoff will also be on hand to introduce Mr. Mehta and moderate a Q&A session after the talk.

Video interview with M.C. Mehta