Nine years is an age when a child usually focuses on studies, games, and hobbies. A nine-year-old suing the government for any act of omission or commission is certainly unimaginable. This is exactly what has happened and is currently creating waves in the country.
Ridhima Pandey, all of nine years, went ahead and filed a legal case against the Government of India for omitting to take action on climate change. She also made known her growing concern regarding pollution and environmental degradation in the country.
The petition was filed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a special court that deals with environment-related cases. It accuses the government of failing to implement the laid down environmental laws.
The petition has urged NGT to prevail upon the government to take necessary steps to reduce the adverse impact of climate change. NGT, in its turn, has asked for a response from the Ministry of Environment and the Central Pollution Control Board within two weeks.
What was the motivation for Ridhima to file this petition against the government? Being a resident of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand and daughter of an environmental activist, she was witness to the 2013 flash floods and landslides that killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless. The reason for this devastation was environmental degradation.
According to Rahul Choudhary, Ridhima’s lawyer, this young girl is acutely aware of the climate change and its adverse effects on the environment. In his own words, “she (Ridhima) wanted to do something that can have a meaningful effect, and we suggested she could file a petition against the government.”
Whether this bold initiative by a little girl will move the government into action to preserve the environment or no is a moot point. However, this episode has certainly brought out this burning issue in the nation’s conscience. It has also encouraged other like-minded people to put collective pressure on the environmental ministry and pollution control board.