Land Grab, Corporate Mining and Environmental Harm in India: Contradictory Legal Responses

Gill, Gita (2017) Land Grab, Corporate Mining and Environmental Harm in India: Contradictory Legal Responses. In: Transnational and International Environmental Crime: Synergies, Priorities and Challenges Conference, 15 February 2017, Lincoln, UK.

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State-facilitated corporate crime ‘occurs when government regulatory institutions fail to restrain deviant business activities’ due to shared interests ‘whose attainment would be hampered by aggressive regulation’ (Kramer, Michalowski, & Kauzlarich, 2002). It includes acts that are illegal and socially injurious that ‘result in death, ill health, financial loss, and increasingly in the globalized capitalist economy, cultural destruction, all while being insulated from the full weight of criminalization for these actions’ (Kramer et al.,2002).

In this context land acquisition (eminent domain) is a contentious issue in India. The state has developed a range of policies to facilitate land acquisition for rapid economic growth. Mineral extractive industry is one sector where foreign mining companies and their Indian subsidiaries are encouraged to operate by relaxing the regulatory policies to promote investment and ease of business. This has led to forceful eviction, lack of compensation and loss of cultural identity of local communities (mainly tribal people) being the most severely affected by land deals and environmental harm. State intervention aims to change the overarching legal framework by downgrading participatory democracy protecting affected peoples through legislative amendments and political interference. There is conflicting legislative activity reflecting competing interests. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act 2006, the Forest Conservation Act 1980 recognise and promote participatory decision making by tribal communities and environmental protection. On the other hand the controversial Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (second amendment bill 2015) awaiting parliamentary approval, promotes an economic growth agenda that expunges the participatory power of tribal communities living in the affected areas.

The paper examines the tension between the increasing political emphasis on economic growth and the protection of human rights, social equity and the environment is reflected in both the legislation and its questionable application. However, this application introduces the proactive judiciary seeking to ensure the implementation of protective legislation. Court activity is illustrated through the examination of mining cases such as Vedanta and POSCO.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: M200 Law by Topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Professor Gita Gill
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2017 10:13
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 12:16

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