IELRC.ORG - Home & News

Recent Books


IELRC is seeking
contributions for

Lead Journal

 more information

 First Name
 Last Name
 Email Address
IELRC in the press

Welcome to IELRC.ORG

The International Environmental Law Research Centre is an independent research organisation focusing on international and comparative environmental law issues, with a particular emphasis on India and East Africa.

The aim of the IELRC is to contribute to the establishment of legal and institutional frameworks which foster sustainable environmental management in developing countries in an equitable international context...    [ read more ]

Latest news on IELRC.ORG

Thinking beyond the pandemic: Learning from Coronavirus to Tackle Climate Change: The imperative of Solidarity and Equity [read more]  
Announcing the publication of Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South edited by P. Cullet & S. Koonan. [read more]  



Book launch by of Right to Sanitation in India – Critical Perspectives (edited by P. Cullet, S. Koonan & L. Bhullar), with Ms Yamini Aiyar, President & Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research (welcome address) and a panel constituted of Justice (retd) Madan B. Lokur, Hon’ble Judge, Supreme Court of India and Prof. Awadhendra Sharan, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, with Dr Usha Ramanathan, Independent Law Researcher moderating. For more details and to visualise the full event, see here.


OpEd in The Shillong Times by P. Cullet, 'Water: Our Common Heritage’. Read the full article here.


Announcing the publication in January 2019 of Right to Sanitation in India - Critical Perspectives edited by P. Cullet, S. Koonan & L. Bhullar. [read more]


Publication of Groundwater and Climate Change – Multi-Level Law and Policy Perspectives edited by Philippe Cullet & Raya Marina Stephan. [read more]


Publication of The Gallant Academic - Essays in Honour of HWO Okoth-Ogendo edited by Patricia Kameri-Mbote & Collins Odote. [read more]


Publication of Water Law in India: An Introduction to Legal Instruments (2nd edition) edited by Philippe Cullet and Sujith Koonan. First published in 2011, Water Law in India is the only book to offer a comprehensive survey of the legal instruments concerning water in India. It presents a variety of  national and state-level instruments that make up the complex and diverse field of water law and policy. This book fills a critical gap in the study of water law, providing a rich reference point for the entire gamut of legal mechanisms available in India. [read more]


PhD funding at SOAS University of London for a project on Mining, Land and Water Law: Ensuring Sustainable and Equitable Outcomes. A new funding opportunity for PhD applicants seeking to work at the intersection of mining, and and water law is offered for a project co-supervised at SOAS and Birkbeck. For further information, visit the following page towards the end of 2016.


OpEd in The Statesman by P. Cullet, 'Why Delhi Must Think Beyond Water ATMs’. Read the full article here.


The Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has put out for comments the Draft National Water Framework Law and the Draft Model Bill for Conservation Protection and Regulation of Groundwater drafted by the Committee of which Prof. Cullet is a member. The call for comments can be found on this link.


Prof. Philippe Cullet has been invited to be a Member of the Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation’s ‘Committee to Draft National Water Framework Law’, a Member of the Committee ‘Re-draft the Draft Model Bill for Conservation Protection and Regulation of Ground Water, 2011’ and a Member of the Committee to ‘Draft River Basin Management Bill’. 


Publication of Sanitation Law and Policy in India - An Introduction to Basic Instruments edited by Philippe Cullet and Lovleen Bhullar. This is the first book bringing together the various dimensions of sanitation law in India in a single volume, a crucial contribution in the context of the fast increasing interest for all matters related to sanitation. [read more]


Latest academic publications

Please note that a complete list of our articles and book chapters an be accessed here, of our books here, of our working papers here and a comprehensive listing of all the documents published on this website including all the above as well as briefing papers, topical articles, special dossiers and miscellaneous documents can be accessed here.



The Human Right to Water in India: In search of an alternative commons-based approach in the context of climate change

Water is central to climate change. The impacts of climate change primarily centre upon too much water (e.g. floods, sea level rise), too little (e.g. droughts), or a shift in its composition (e.g. ocean acidification). The centrality of water to climate change and its importance to life mean that there are significant concerns about how climate change will impact the human right to water (“HRW”) (Singh, 2016; UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2010). However, the underlying relationship between water and climate is also mediated by political, social and economic processes (Taylor, 2015; Boelens et al., 2016). Thus, the hydro-climatic injustices and rights breaches around water are intertwined with questions of gender, class, and caste, as well as the allocation of water for economic production, as much as they are caused by “environmental” or “climatic” processes (Linton, 2012; Taylor, 2015)...

download the full text       size: 300 [KB]  

Sanitation Interventions in India: Gender Myopia and Implications For Gender Equality

Women have specific sanitation needs. They are arguably prone to several sanitation-related vulnerabilities such as gender-based violence while accessing sanitation facilities and difficulties in managing hygiene during menstruation. Sanitation-related needs and vulnerabilities of women are partly due to biological reasons and partly due to social and cultural factors. Social and cultural norms coupled with the lack of basic sanitation facilities such as toilets render the performance of daily sanitation functions burdensome and embarrassing for women. In this context, this paper examines...

download the full text       size: 229 [KB]  

Medical Patents and the Right to Health - From Monopoly Control to Open Access Innovation and Provision of Medicines

The coming into force of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in the mid-1990s led to a massive strengthening of intellectual property rights in the global South. This was particularly controversial concerning restrictions on access to medicines and set the stage for spirited debates concerning the impacts of medical patents on the realisation of the right to health in the context of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Efforts to reconcile the right to health and medical patents led to a minor amendment of the TRIPS Agreement that has hardly had any impact on the ground while further strengthening of patent protection was obtained, for instance, through bilateral agreements. In the human rights field, attempts to strengthen the protection afforded by the right to health have been partly diluted by efforts to strengthen the claims of inventors under human rights law. At this juncture, two main elements need to be taken forward. The first is to revisit our understanding of the human right to health to ensure, for instance, that there is no compromise in the liberal promise of universality, in particular access to medicines for every person who needs them. The second element is the need to rethink the way in which legal incentives are given to innovate. In a context where patents are the only recognised legal incentive to innovate in the medical field, this discourages the development of medicines for diseases that may affect mostly poor patients, since companies need to recoup their investments. Further, it militates against giving attention to other systems of medicine whose innovations can usually not be protected under the patent system, even where treatments are effective.

download the full text       size: 235 [KB]  

Fostering the Realisation of the Right to Water: Need to Ensure Universal Free Provision and to Recognise Water as a Common Heritage

"The fundamental right to water has long been formally recognised in India. However, notwithstanding this and numerous governmental interventions over the years, universal provision of water is yet to be achieved. The author traces the divergent trends in the way the realization of the right to water has been conceived over the last few decades. On the one hand, the idea of water as a public trust good has strengthened - on the other hand, however, there is a rising commodification of water in recent water sector reforms. The author challenges this position and analyses the various implications of treating water as an economic good - leading to a stress on affordability at the core of the right. The author argues that the right to water must be viewed through the ‘common heritage of mankind’ lens and operationalized so as to prioritize the needs and interests of rights holders. This stems from the ‘common’ nature of water supply - a resource contingent on global weather conditions and independent from sovereign claims. Further, the author details the higher judiciary’s treatment of the public trust doctrine and examines its shortcomings in ensuring universal access to water. Finally, he concludes that an expanded view of common heritage of mankind, along with international collaboration on policy frameworks, is essential moving forward."

download the full text       size: 354 [KB]  

Introduction to the Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South

Environmental law has grown over the past five decades around conservation measures, often linked to development concerns.1 At the international level, the Stockholm Declaration – often seen as the foundational instrument of international environmental law – had already linked environmental protection with economic development.2 This link was progressively strengthened up to the point where, in 1987, the notion of sustainable development officially sanctified the bond.3 Since then, there has been no turning back and sustainable development progressively became the anchor around which environmental measures have been structured (...)

download the full text       size: 102 [KB]