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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


Announcing the publication in October 2018 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.



Groundwater Law, Abstraction, and Responding to Climate Change - assessing recent law reforms in British Columbia and England

In 2014, British Columbia enacted the Water Sustainability Act, a comprehensive overhaul of its ground and surface water regimes. Meanwhile, in England more piecemeal changes have been made to existing groundwater laws and policies. Through developing a framework from groundwater governance and climate change adaptation literature this paper analyses the effectiveness of these reforms, which have been carried out through different methods and from different starting points. The paper goes on to considers how new processes and technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), bring fresh challenges in aligning progress in groundwater law reforms with the wider policy framework.

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Regulating the Interactions Between Climate Change and Groundwater: Lessons from India

Groundwater is often considered a largely local issue that is difficult to regulate. Further, groundwater regulation has often focused on use, rather than protection and conservation. There has thus been little integration of environmental concerns into groundwater regulation. Climate change calls for rethinking the regulatory framework for protecting and regulating groundwater. In India, the climate change regime has not given groundwater adequate prominence. Conversely, groundwater regulation remains largely detached from environmental challenges, including climate change. This needs to be addressed through regulation that links the two fields and is based on legal principles derived from the Constitution of India.

download the full text       size: 189 [KB]  

Right to Sanitation in India: Nature and Scope

In 2014, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), its flagship programme on sanitation. This has triggered a significant momentum in the sanitation sector in India. Although the SBM is more or less a continuation of the erstwhile policy framework on sanitation in India (the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in the rural sanitation context), it did manage to bring sanitation to the forefront in the agenda of implementation agencies. The state machinery including the machinery at the local level has started focussing more on implementation of sanitation policies and programmes. Achievement of open defecation free status has all of a sudden become a target for the state governments and local bodies...

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Gender Issues in Electoral Politics in Kenya: The Unrealized Constitutional Promise

The road to gender equality has been long and arduous for Kenyan women’s movement. While progress has been made over time, a lot remains to be done in the area of representation in elective and appointive positions. Up to 2010, the Constitution and law were cited as the biggest obstacles in the way of gender equality. The promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 contains very robust equality, non-discrimination and participation provisions. However, it did not provide clear implementation mechanisms for the affirmative action provisions for women’s representation. It was hoped that the promulgation of this constitution would ensure gender equality. However, the promulgation and enactment laws is not sufficient. In the area of electoral politics, while the number of women in Parliament has increased, compliance with the constitutional rule of ‘not more than two thirds of the same gender’ remains a challenge because of the absence of mechanisms to ensure adherence. Not surprisingly, the earliest court matters and advisory opinions sought on the Constitution related to gender equality. It is against this background that this Chapter analyzes the promise of gender equality and non-discrimination in electoral politics. Contextualizing the issue within history, women’s struggles and the road to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the authors identify critical milestones highlighting the role of the women’s movement. This provides the backdrop against which the 2013 elections are discussed. The authors also navigate the political and social manoeuvres that have surrounded attempts to meet the two thirds gender rule. The Chapter looks at how women fared in the 2013 elections -nominations, campaigns; the voting process; and the results of the first elections under the Constitution. The authors use gender analysis to illustrate how that politics remain a citadel of male political dominance noting that given the nature of Kenyan society, affirmative action measures and quotas remain the most effective pathways towards gender equality in electoral politics. The authors discuss disputes that have arisen noting the lack of canvassing of the gender question as a substantive issue to buttress the point that discussions on gender in Kenya are still at the periphery. They decry the dearth of bold, transformative and path-breaking jurisprudence on the substantive gender question in electoral politics in Kenya, which in their view is what is needed to alter the political playing field and the rules of the game. In conclusion, the authors argue that in no country has gender representation in politics been achieved through the promulgation of laws alone, highlighting the need for effective implementation mechanisms; incentives for actors to follow through; and sanctions meted against those who do not comply.

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Revamping the Groundwater Legal Regime in India: Towards Ensuring Equity and Sustainability

The evolution of a separate groundwater law in India is a relatively new development. This development marks a shift from the dated common law rule that recognises the uncontrolled right of landowners over groundwater, which perpetuated gross inequity in accessing groundwater by restricting access only to landowners. In this context, framing of new groundwater laws is seen as a key step towards addressing the aggravating problems of depletion and contamination of groundwater along with eliminating inequity in accessing groundwater. Access to groundwater is also directly related to the realisation of the right to water because groundwater is the most important source for drinking and other domestic purposes. Therefore, a legal framework ensuring sustainable use of, and equitable access to, groundwater will have tremendous impact and influence on the effective realisation of the right to water in the Indian context. In this background, this article examines the capacity of the existing and evolving groundwater law in India to ensure equity, sustainability and realisation of the right to water. This article also highlights the gaps in the existing legal framework in this regard and suggests basic principles, norms and approaches that should form the underlying elements of the groundwater legal regime to make it capable of ensuring sustainability, equity and human rights.

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