ISLAMABAD  – Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has said that collective efforts are required to create awareness and educate the masses about the environment and its importance.

He expressed these views in the inaugural ceremony of one -week training course on “Intellectual Property Rights Laws, Environmental Laws with Special Reference to Jurisdiction and Powers of Green Courts and other new laws” for District and Sessions Judges/Additional District and Sessions Judges from all over Pakistan including Azad Jammu and Kashmir here in the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA), Islamabad, on Monday.

About the importance of the environmental laws, Justice Jamali said: “This subject is, indeed, very important. It is the need of the hour. Realizing its importance the Academy has done a good job to incorporate it in the training course. This subject starts from the destruction of ozone layer and ends upto your house when you throw the house waste and garbage on the streets. It is a subject of human interest litigation. District judiciary judges should make sure that environmental laws are enforced. Environmental laws need your special attention.” 

He further said: “Mere labeling of the environmental courts as Environmental Tribunal or Green Courts is not enough but more important is the conduct of the presiding officer, how active role he/she is playing in saving the environment, in this age of environmental decay. It is not the gun but the man behind the gun who counts. How effectively and efficiently one is discharging his/her functions, his/her responsibilities.  You have the backing of the enactment; you have the backing of the law. You are there to protect the individual’s rights and also the interests of the masses of this country.”

Lamenting about the environmental laws and environmental tribunals in the country, he said: “Laws enacted in this country, decade or more than a decade, unfortunately our environmental tribunals are only ‘on the record’ working. This is, indeed, a sorry state of affairs about the environmental tribunal or green courts in the country.”

Regarding the environmental laws he said, nowadays seminars, workshops and walks are being organized but people need more and more education and awareness about this subject, especially, those people who have no proper exposure about this subject.

He also enumerated the efforts of the emerging Asian robust economies such as China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan etc. where the environmental courts/green courts are actively working. He also referred to the last year’s South Asian Conference on Environmental Justice and the Bhurban Declaration, 2012 and said that still more was required in this domain.

About the much more debated Intellectual Property Rights Laws in the world, the SC judge said: “These laws are also need of the day to curb the menace of piracy but what it needs a very balanced approach.

“Intellectual Property Rights Laws are not made to exploit the poor of the developing and third world countries like Pakistan and protect and advance the interests of the companies from the developed economies. You (judges at district judiciary level) have to adopt a balanced and pragmatic approach to tackle the issues arising out of it.”

Earlier, DG FJA presented his welcome speech and highlighted the objectives of the training course.

Hashim Abro, spokesman for the academy, said that 21 district judiciary judges including district and sessions judges and additional sessions judges were undergoing this one-week training at the academy.