On November 21, 2017, a Tis Hazari court sentenced an individual to two years’ imprisonment. What makes the judgment noteworthy is that the case wasn’t a run-of-the-mill criminal case concerning murder, rape, theft or abduction, but an environmental case: the court put the man behind bars for polluting the Yamuna river.

Routinely, the Supreme Court, the Delhi high court and the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) voice their concern on environmental issues in the National Capital Region (NCR), particularly on the state of the Yamuna river, air pollution and waste management. But just how often does one hear of a trial court convicting a person for an offence against the environment?

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