Supreme Court judges from 10 countries participated in the International Webinar of Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University hosts 2-day International Webinar on ‘Global Challenges of Modern Times’

“Supreme Court of India played a proactive role in recognizing Right to Education as one of the fundamental right given to the citizens of India. With the enactment and implementation of Right to Education by Indian Parliament, the social and economic status of citizens especially the vulnerable section of society drastically improved” said Justice Surya Kant, Judge Supreme Court of India. He was speaking during the inaugural session of two-day International Webinar of “Global Challenges in Modern Times” hosted by Chandigarh University. Supreme Judges from 10 countries including India, USA, UK, Nepal, EU, Brazil and Australia are taking part to share their thoughts and ideas on important issues like Right to Education, Nuclear Energy & Environment Protection, Laws for Migrant Population and Human Rights. More than 25,000 students and faculty from Law Schools all over India participated on the first day of the International Webinar organized by Chandigarh University

While delivering his address, Justice Surya Kant said, “An Educated person is more aware about the fundamental rights and duties that are offered by the constitution of the nation. Although it took 100 years for India to enact and implement Right to Education (RTE) as fundamental right, but it unlocked new avenues and opportunities in the developing society which has provided the necessary platform to empower the sections of society like women”. Justice Kant further added that, “Women today has dismantled the social barriers and inequality that the world had enforced upon them. This has been possible in country like India only because of recognition of Right to Education as important by the Union and State Governments”.      

Speaking further on Right to Education, Justice Bhushan Ramakrishna Gavai, Judge Supreme Court of India said, “Right to life provided to us under the Article 21 of Constitution of India is meaningless without the incorporation Right to Education as Dr. B.R.Ambedkar said that what is the use of rights if a person does not possess the knowledge of using them”. With the implementation of New Education Policy which offers flexibility, more and more deprived sections of the society of our country will come under the ambit of education and will hence improve their social and economic status, Justice Gavai added.       

“The need for clean energy is increasing day-by-day due to the non-stop degradation of our environment with the excessive usage of fossil fuels by the mankind” said Justice Sabrina McKenna, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Hawaii. The demand for electricity is increasing twice as fast as the total energy production in the world which is currently being generated 76% from the fossil fuels like Coal & Oil. Justice Sabrina further added that, “92% of India’s total electricity generation is from thermal power plants which will reduce to 75% by 2040. But by then the total energy requirement of India will increase by 156% which will negating the effect of reduced dependence on production of electricity from coal. “With the excessive usage of fossil fuels, global warming has resulted in increase in the sea levels which has endangered many global port cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Karachi which will eventually become inhabitable” said Justice Mckenna. 

Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge of Land & Environment, Court of New South Wales said, “World is currently living under Climate Emergency and 11,000 scientists world over have raised their concerns that the threat of catastrophic disaster due to global warming is now becoming a harsh reality”. Countries like India have committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 35% by generating 9% of the total electricity generation from nuclear energy which is currently 4.2%. Justice Preston further added, “India is building 23 Nuclear Reactors for electricity generation which will completed by 2025”.           

“With separate courts & tribunals on environment by many countries around the world, it can be clearly stated that Judiciary being law enforcement agency is playing a crucial role in environment protection” said Justice Brian Preston.  

While speaking on the contribution of migrant workers in their respective countries, Ananda Mohan, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal said, “Most of the countries in South Asia receive remittances sent by migrant workers which help their countries’ economies to boost”. South Asian countries experienced a 12 percent growth in remittance in the year 2018-19. In lower- and middle-income countries India receives the highest remittance stated Justice Ananda Mohan. Justice Ananda Mohan added, “ Despite the huge contribution to the economy, migrants’ workers are the most unprotected section of humanity, especially those working in unorganized sectors and the ones who are self-employed in urban centers away from their native places, After the lockdown declared in last year in various countries this section was affected the most”.

Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, President of The East African Court of Justice, while speaking on Human Rights said, “In Modern time Human Rights are protected at different level namely in the International, National, and Regional Level. The independence of the Judiciary in each country is an utmost important factor for implementing the Convention on Human Rights. The systematic threat to the independence of the judiciary should be put on hold because the judiciary is the last line of defense for the preservation of the Human Right Convention. The countries should abolish the death penalties in numerous cases, the death penalties should be reserved for serious crimes, those involved in killings stated Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja

Justice Michael Hantke Domas, Lawyer & Consultant, and Prof. Armin Rosencranz, Dean at Jindal global university (New Delhi) were among the other dignitaries who participated in the webinar.

On the second day of the International Webinar on “Global Challenges in Modern Times” hosted by Chandigarh University , Justice Sanjay Kaul, Judge Supreme Court of India said,  "Education is primarily a vehicle with which socially-economically marginalized section can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to be integrated and participated fully in their community”. Justice A.M Khanwilkar, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Prof. Dr. Gitanjali Nain Gill, Professor of Environmental Law Northumbia Law School, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, Member of the National High Court of Brazil, Robert John Anderson Carnwath, Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, Prof. Dr. Noriko Okubo, Professor, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University, Dr. Eli Cohen, CEO& Founder, Ayala Water & Ecology Israel were among the other dignitaries who participated in the 2nd day of webinar.

While delivering his address Justice Sanjay Kaul said, “What is necessary today is to address the shortcoming that can lead to de-facto discrimination in keeping children out of school, whether it is the sanitary facility for girls, gender-based violence or quality of curriculum”. Our policy thinker and legal minds need to address the larger societal barrier that comes in the way of realizing rights which is crucial not just for individuals but also for the development of the nation, stated Justice Sanjay Kaul. Speaking further on Right to Education Justice Sanjay Kaul  said, “Right to education being in the form of socio-legal rights needs constant policy review, update, and reflection”. Judiciary guide the legislature to make the laws according to the present need . A judgment on the Right to food litigation by the Supreme Court of India has prompted the government to invest largely in the mid-day meal scheme in primary school, which led to 3,5000 additional girls now attending the school. A court decision in socio-legal matters tend to have a stronger impact in bringing about the structural and policy changes which can create the right conditions for full enjoyment of rights, stated Justice Sanjay Kaul

While sharing his concern on the Environment, Justice Sanjay Kaul said, “Environment is supportive, yet the environment is reacting back, when you do violence with the environment will do violence to the human species”. Pandemic is the ideal time to give a thought to what nature in a one form or other can do to the human species if we do not feel the warning, added Justice Sanjay Kaul. The overutilization of fossil fuels has not only led to the significant depletion but also resulted in catastrophic effects on our environment, the government and Supreme Court of India are encouraging the use of the electrical vehicle to curbing the air pollution, said Justice Sanjay Kaul.

We all are just contributed significantly over the years to damaging our environment . Climate change, the rise in sea levels, Loss of flora and fauna are just the few examples of the issues faced by humanity. Island nations are toady facing an existing crisis as rising in sea level is causing these island nations to sink slowly, this not only led to the loss of property and other means of livelihood to local resident but has also resulted in widespread migration and immigration to the other parts of the world stated Justice Sanjay Kaul

Judge/Prof. Dr.L. Lavrysen, President of The EU Forum Judges for the Environment said, “Nuclear energy is considered as one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions during the production of electricity as compared to traditional sources like coal power plants. But safety is of utmost importance as radiations have a serious effect on humanity”.

Prof. Tracy Hester, University of Houston Law Center said, “Through meaningful step by law we can ensure the safety of human rights and at the same time we can ensure how to rejuvenate the environment. Environmental impact assessment is required as Nuclear powerplants use uranium as fuel.”  The process of mining the uranium releases excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment. Chemical emitted from the mining process results erosion, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, contamination of soil &groundwater, which is a greater concern to protect our  environment , added Prof. Tracy Hester .

Priyasath Dep PC, Sri Lankan Judge and Lawyer while speaking on Human rights said, “ The rule of Law is very important in the prediction of Human rights.” Human rights should be enjoyed by every individual without any discrimination regarding race, color, language, religion, sex, etc. It shall be the duty of the state to enforce human rights so that every individual can enjoy their human rights, stated Priyasath Dep PC. Some of the basic rights like , the Right to Life& Liberty , security of person, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion  should not be curtailed by the government even during the time of emergency added Priyasath Dep PC.

Justice Michael Wilson, Judge Supreme Court of Hawaii, U.S.A, said , “Energy production and its use is the largest source of global green house emission, therefore reducing the green house gas produced by the energy sector is crucial to survival of our world order”. In future , we use Nuclear fission energy to reduce our tragic present level of carbon emission will be unnecessarily surrender our humanity and we require alteration of the environmental rule of law that presently protect people of our planet, stated Justice Michael Wilson .