Only a few days after the Ganga and the Yamuna, the two most venerated rivers of India, were granted the status of “legal persons”, the same status has been accorded to glaciers, forests and lakes of Himalayas. The Uttarakhand High Court has passed this exemplary judgement in an endeavor to prevent environmental destruction in this area.
The status of “living entities” has been granted to glaciers ‘Gangotri’ and ‘Yamunotri’, the starting points of the holiest rivers of the country. These glaciers are also a part of the most revered “Char Dham Yatra”.
This judgement implies that these glaciers and rivers have rights to be protected legally if anyone pollutes them or tries to do any other harm to them.
According to the ruling from the highest court in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand,
The rights of these entities shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings and any injury or harm caused to these bodies shall be treated as injury or harm caused to human beings.
As per the information revealed by the court, both these glaciers are receding at an alarming rate. Gangotri has retreated more than 2,800 feet in the last 25 years.
The status of “living entity” has also been bestowed to meadows, waterfalls, forests and lakes around the Himalayan region.