UPES conducts Training Program for IFS Officers on Environmental Laws

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, had provided full financial support to UPES School of Law to conduct this program

UPES School of Law, Dehradun organised a One-Week Online Training Program for Senior IFS Officers from October 26 to 30, 2020. The theme of the training program was ‘Environmental Law, Policy & Governance in India: National and International Perspectives’. Members of Indian Forest Service attended the training program that was replete with comprehensive knowledge and requisite skills on critical issues related to national as well as international environmental law and policies.

The training program addressed a gamut of themes covering general laws, environmental laws, policy and governance, administrative laws, and developmental laws. The program’s primary aim was to sharpen and hone the officers’ legal knowledge to help them enforce these laws with greater efficacy. Andragogical method of teaching was followed, as directed by the Government of India.

Here is a list of the themes of general and special laws that were covered during the training.

Sustainable Development Law and Policy: National and International Perspectives

Integration of international and national laws with economic, social, and environmental laws gives a much-needed impetus to sustainable development law to more actively respond to chronic and complex issues like poverty and its relationship with environmental hazards. The sessions also discussed another challenge – is sustainable development law, soft law, or a policy?

Climate Change Law and Policy: National and International Perspectives

India is a growing economy, and ergo, it will require a substantial amount of energy in the future. The more energy it consumes, the more will be the emissions. How can India strike a balance between growth and sustainability? Is the legal infrastructure capable of tackling the new challenges that will arise due to this growth?

Conservation Law and its role in forest protection

India has lost about 1.6 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2018. To give you an idea of the area, that’s almost four times Goa’s geographical size. It comes as no surprise that forest conservation has become paramount in various national and international dialogues, both for their economic value and their role in mitigating climate change. Hence, officers must be abreast with the updates in forestry laws, conservation laws, and Forest Acts.

Understanding the Civil Justice System as applicable to Forestry Profession

At times, IFS officers have to handle civil cases. These may include administrative work and cases related to contract law, land acquisition law, procedural law, and others. Hence, the need to have a basic understanding of a range of civil laws and procedures, including filing and use of affidavits on behalf of the government, is vital to help officers monitor the State part’s representation through advocates. Most of the written work relating to civil cases sees the involvement of these officers. Therefore, they will be exposed to a basic understanding of the Code of Civil Procedure, Law of Contract, Sale of Goods Act, Societies Registration Act, and so forth.

Deconstructing Criminal Justice System in the political ecology paradigm: The alternatives

Striking a balance between the local communities and the laws drafted is crucial in smoothly achieving any sustainable goal. This approach fosters a just legal system and restores the communities’ faith in the system. A prudent step would be to examine international practices and localize them in the Indian context. With renewed interest in environmental protection, jurisprudence behind international environmental crime must be traversed to understand international law’s changing dynamics and reality. However, any law is only as good as its implementation; an attempt at understanding this lag was also undertaken.

Enforcement of India’s Laws on Environment, Forest and Wildlife, including statutory remedies

In the last few decades, the growing economy has resulted in several forest areas to be de-reserved. The expansion of urban areas has also degraded the land in the countryside, leading to a considerable loss of flora and fauna. Several areas were either notified forest or wildlife areas or outside this category, but rich in wildlife. The sessions discussed Man-Animal Conflict: Policies and Legal Issues, Prosecution of forest-related severe offenses, and other topics.

The interface between Intellectual Property Law and Biodiversity Conservation

In this age of technology and data, safeguarding one’s intellectual property is crucial in developing eco-friendly tech innovations. From Ayurveda to patents on ‘green tech’, IPRs have a significant say in sustainable environmental goals. Both environmentally sustainable goals and intellectual property must be on the same page for a genuinely green tomorrow. The sessions discussed topics such as Patent and Protection of Plant Varieties: WIPO and UPOV perspectives, Interface between Biodiversity and Intellectual Property Law, and Biotechnology, Traditional Knowledge and IPR.

The training program was inaugurated by Mr. Bharat Jyoti, IFS, Director, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun. The resource persons were drawn from various disciplines like the Judiciary, senior members of Indian Forest Service and Indian Police Service, senior academicians from prestigious institutions, Supreme Court Lawyer, independent professionals and in-house experts. Notable participants of the training program were Hon’ble Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, National Green Tribunal, Mr. B.S. Sajwan, IFS (Retd.) former member NGT, Dr. Promode Kant, Director, Institute of Green Economy, Ms. Tilotama Varma, IPS, Additional Director, National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Shri. A.K. Jain IFS (Retd), Principal Consultant NITI Ayog, Mr. Hukum Singh Meena, IAS, Joint Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Mr. R.K. Upadhyay, IFS (Retd.), Prof (Dr.) M.K. Ramesh, Professor, National Law University, Bangalore, Prof. (Dr.) Shobhalata Udapudi, Professor of Law, GNLU, Mr. Sanjay Upadhyay, Supreme Court Lawyer, Mr. Sakarama Somayaji, Independent Professional, Ms. Nidhi Srivastava, Law and Policy Consultant, Mr. C.A. Reddy, IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, NBA and Mr. P.C. Tyagi IFS (Retd.), Faculty Member, WII.

The Government of India identifies potential institutions for imparting training to the members of All India Services. The proposal of the UPES School of Law was accepted by the ministry way back in December 2019, but due to the recent pandemic, the training was delayed. Post acceptance, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India had provided full financial support to the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies to conduct this program. To know more about the university and its admissions process, visit upes.ac.in

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