Mahesh Chander Mehta


The world needs more M.C Mehtas. We have grown accustomed to greed and selfishness these days that hearing of people who espouse integrity and selflessness is a welcome breath of fresh air. M.C. Mehta is literally after fresh air and clean waters. He is a lawyer but he is more of an environmentalist in a sense that he is using his profession to justify the need for us to care and be more conscientious stewards of the Earth.


He is one of the co-founders of ICELA (Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action) and is currently serving as director of MCMEF (MC Mehta Environmental Foundation). Both look after the environment and aim to educate people about the effects of our reckless waste management to our environment.

According to Wikipedia, the cases he won helped in establishing the following principles:

• M.C. Mehta’s public interest environmental litigation cases have formed the foundation for the development of environmental jurisprudence in India, and indeed, South Asia today. M.C. Mehta’s cases have established the following seminal principles in Indian environmental jurisprudence:

• The constitutional right to life extends to the right to a clean and healthy environment.

• Courts are empowered to grant financial compensation as a remedy for the infringement of the right to life.

• Polluters should be held absolutely liable to compensate for harm caused by their hazardous activities.

• Public resources that are sensitive, fragile or of high ecological value should be maintained and preserved for the public.

• Similarly, the government has a responsibility to prevent environmental degradation. Even if scientific uncertainty exists, the implementation of preventative measures should not be delayed wherever there is the possibility of serious or irreversible damage.

• Green benches should be established in Indian High Courts dealing specifically with environmental cases. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

He has won cases fought to defend and preserve the Taj Mahal and the Ganges River. This bravery earned him enemies and supporters. In 1993, he received UN’s Global 500 Award along with The Great Son of the Soil Award. He was also awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize three years later. Then the year after that, he became recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service and also the Vasundhara by Rotary Club of Dombivali Midtown. M.C. was awarded the People of the Year Award by the LIMCA Book of Record and received the Kerry Rydberg Award for environmental activism.

He’s been everywhere around the world, telling leaders about environmental issues and our responsibility to mitigate them. As long as there’s an M.C. Mehta among us, there is still hope.


1. He’s a fearless lawyer who co-founded the ICELA (Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action).

2. He is the current director of MCMEF (MC Mehta Environmental Foundation).

3. He has fought for Taj Mahal’s protection against acid rain turning its marbles yellowish.

4. He has also helped in creating a policy for people polluting the Ganges River.

5. He’s an activist who took part in non-violent demonstrations.

6. He has kept his integrity intact and has so far been successful in turning down bribes.

7. He’s a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service.

8. He’s rejected the idea of having bodyguards as suggested by friends who are concerned about the enemy he’s making in his quest for justice.

9. He has been a Keynote Speaker at various International Conferences on Environmental Law and Human Rights held in different parts of the world.

10. He has kept fighting for justice, equality, and environmental care even though he seemed the only one doing it at first.

Source by Peter S Horsfield