2021 Domestic court Nepal Right to a healthy environment

Interim Order against Nepali Fiscal Policy

On 18 June 2021 the Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order requiring the government not to implement its plan to extract and export natural resources, namely sand, pebbles, and stones, in order to reduce its trade deficit. In doing so, it cited the fundamental right to a healthy environment, as well as the constitutional protection of resources for the enjoyment of future generations.

The Constitutional bench referred to Article 30 of the Constitution, which enshrines the right to a clean and healthy environment. It also referred to Article 51(g) of the Constitution, which concerns the protection, promotion and use of natural resources. It referred to the need to ensure inter-generational coordination and environmental balance.

Further information:

The order was made by a Constitutional bench made up of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana and Justices Deepak Kumar Karki, Mira Khadka, Hari Krishna Karki and Bishwambhar Prasad Shrestha on 18 June 2021. Orders of the Supreme Court are available here.

Suggested case citation:
The Supreme Court of Nepal, Interim Order against Nepali Fiscal Policy, issued on 18 June 2021

To read more about the case in English, click here.

2018 Biodiversity Domestic court Emissions reductions Imminent risk Margin of appreciation Nepal Paris Agreement Right to a healthy environment Right to health Right to life Right to subsistence/food

Padam Bahadur Shrestha v. Office of Prime Minister and Others

Facts of the case:

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 that 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 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

Court’s decision:

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.

Case documents:

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.