Mahesh Chander Mehta

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Mahesh Chander Mehta TheStar.com
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We have this persisting opinion of lawyers as dishonest and interested only in money; Mahesh Chander Mehta, also known as M.C. Mehta, disproves these generalizations. He is an environmental lawyer based in India, his home country, where bureaucracy is not for the faint-hearted. M.C. won cases to protect the Taj Mahal, Ganges River, and many other historical sites. He upholds Indian’s Right to Life, Polluters Must Pay, the Precautionary Principle, and the Public Trust Principle, and wins cases through sheer hard work and impeccable integrity. He does not earn much, but the respect he has won is priceless.

Achievements

Why Mahesh Chander Mehta is Extraordinary

The world needs more people like M.C Mehta. We have grown so accustomed to greed and selfishness that hearing of people who espouse integrity and selflessness is like a breath of fresh air. M.C. Mehta is literally after fresh air and clean waters. He is a lawyer, but more of an environmentalist in the sense that he uses his profession to justify the need for us to care and be more conscientious stewards of the Earth.

The ICELA and MCMEF

He is one of the co-founders of ICELA (Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action) and currently serves as Director of MCMEF (MC Mehta Environmental Foundation). Both look after the environment and aim to educate people about the effects of reckless waste management.

According to Wikipedia, the cases he won helped establish the following principles:

• M.C. Mehta’s public interest environmental litigation cases have formed the foundation for the development of environmental jurisprudence in India, and indeed, South Asia today. M.C. Mehta’s cases have established the following seminal principles in Indian environmental jurisprudence:
• The constitutional right to life extends to the right to a clean and healthy environment.
• Courts are empowered to grant financial compensation as a remedy for the infringement of the right to life.
• Polluters should be held absolutely liable to compensate for harm caused by their hazardous activities.
• Public resources that are sensitive, fragile or of high ecological value should be maintained and preserved for the public.
• Similarly, the government has a responsibility to prevent environmental degradation. Even if scientific uncertainty exists, the implementation of preventative measures should not be delayed wherever there is the possibility of serious or irreversible damage.
• Green benches should be established in Indian High Courts dealing specifically with environmental cases.
(SOURCE: Wikipedia)

He has won many cases, and fought to defend and preserve the Taj Mahal and the Ganges River. This bravery has earned him enemies and supporters alike. In 1993, he received UN's “Global 500 Award” along with the “Great Son of the Soil Award.” He was also awarded the “Goldman Environmental Prize” in 1996. One year later, he was a recipient of the prestigious “Ramon Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service” and also the “Vasundhara” by Rotary Club of Dombivali Midtown. M.C. was awarded the “People of the Year Award” by the LIMCA Book of Record and received the “Kerry Rydberg Award” for environmental activism.

He has been everywhere around the world to inform leaders of environmental issues and our responsibility to mitigate them. As long as there’s someone like M.C. Mehta among us, there is still hope.

Top Reasons why Mahesh Chander Mehta is Extraordinary

  1. He is a fearless lawyer who co-founded the ICELA (Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action).
  2. He is the current Director of MCMEF (MC Mehta Environmental Foundation).
  3. He has fought for the Taj Mahal's protection against acid rain, which caused decay and turned its marble yellow.
  4. He has also helped create a policy to address pollution of the Ganges River.
  5. He is an activist who has participated in non-violent demonstrations.
  6. He has kept his integrity intact, as he is well-known for turning down bribes.
  7. He was a recipient of the “Goldman Environmental Prize” and the “Ramon Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service.”
  8. He rejected the idea of having bodyguards, which was suggested by friends who were concerned about the enemies he’d made in his quest for justice.
  9. He has been a Keynote Speaker at various International Conferences on Environmental Law and Human Rights held all over the world.
  10. He has continued to fight for justice, equality, and environmental care throughout his life.

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