Author: Ahana Jagannath Kaginalkar, Student at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana
Jurisprudence has witnessed a paradigm shift from an anthropocentrically founded school of thought to a geological, eco-centric epoch. Pursuant to this, the trend of granting personhood status to various entities like corporations and ships has a new addition- rivers. The degrading quality of rivers, the shortcomings of existing legal provisions as well as religious and communal motivations led to the bestowal of the personhood status to rivers in Ecuador, New Zealand, and India amongst others. This paper discusses these decisions in the context of the Rights of Nature Doctrine. It analyses a landmark Uttarakhand High Court Judgement that granted the rivers Ganga and Yamuna a personhood status and further discusses the challenges that need to be resolved as the concept of legal personhood of environment develops.
Keywords- Juristic Personhood, Rivers, Ecuador, New Zealand, India, Challenges, Prospects.