Law lecture addresses Indian environment and legal system

By By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

Last month, the Indian Supreme Court granted a United Kingdom-based mining company access to mine a sacred and fragile mountain ecosystem for the raw material necessary to produce aluminum. India receives an 8 to 9 percent gross national product increase, but activists said the court system undermined the rights of the local tribal people for this development.

“(The courts used this case to) justify why economics should predominate over any other consideration,” said Kanchi Kohli, an activist and reporter who spoke at the U’s S. J. Quinney College of Law on Monday in a lecture on the impact of transnational corporate development in India on the environment and the Indian legal system.

At the lecture, two Indian activists, Kohli and a pro bono attorney, discussed the Indian government’s mining access grant as an affront to the local people and their environment.

“American interests in transnational corporations are a major source for capital and the impetus for (these) big developments that have (these damaging environmental) impacts,” said William Lockhart, the law professor who organized the lecture. “Obviously this is not restricted to India. Americans, especially law students, need to know the way legal systems play a role in these (development) projects.”

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Anna Kartashova

Kanchi Kohli, a point person in Delhi for “Kalpavriksh,” an environmental group in India, presents a lecture at the Quinney College of Law on Tuesday.