The petitioner, Padam Bahadur Shrestha, had applied to the concerned authorities in Nepal to enact a separate law on climate change in August 2018, but did not receive a response. He thus filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Nepal alleging that the situation in Nepal is marked by absence of a special climate change legislation, inadequacies in existing environmental legislation in addressing climate change, and poor implementation of the State’s climate change policy. He argued that this suffices to establish a violation of the right to life, right to live in a healthy and clean environment, right to health care and right to food found in Articles 16, 30, 35, and 36 of the Nepali Constitution.
Date of decision:
25 December 2018
The Supreme Court of Nepal found that an amendment to the existing laws and introduction of a new consolidated law that addresses climate change was necessary and issued detailed directions on what features the new law must contain. It based this order on the reasons that such would facilitate Nepal’s compliance with its obligations under international law, including the Paris Agreement and that climate mitigation and adaptation directly concern fundamental rights including the right to life, right to have nutritious food and the right to a clean environment. It further held that although the Environmental Protection Act of 1997 addressed environmental protection along the dimension of climate change, its provisions were inadequate regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Status of the case:
Suggested case citation:
The Supreme Court of Nepal, Padam Bahadur Shreshta v Office of the Prime Minister and Others, NKP, Part 61, Vol. 3, judgment of 25 December 2018.
For the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nepal (in Nepali), click here.
For an unofficial English translation of the judgment (authored by Hardik Subedi), click here.