By Trishala Sanyal, AKK New Law Academy.

Miss Priya Pillia is a Greenpeace activist holding a valid six months business visa to visit London. She was invited by the British Parliamentarians to address them on January 14, 2014 to talk about the ongoing campaign of Mahan, Madhya Pradesh where the proposed coal mining project by Essars a London based Company has been treating the local community to clear the forest and uproot them. Sadly, her noble motive was halted by the airport authorities when her passport was stamped OFFLOAD without any prudent clarification. She was told that she was banned from leaving India although she had no criminal convictions against her but her spirit was shaken off with the restrictions. She did address the Parliamentarians by Skype. The detention by the authorities is the clear violation of the Fundamental Rights reflected in Section 22 (5) of the Indian Constitution. The following Section states as follows, “When any person is detained in pursuance of an order made under any law providing for preventive detention, the authority making the order shall, as soon as may be, communicate to such person the grounds on which the order has been made and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order[1].  This is not the instance where the Greenpeace activist has been legally attacked.


The controversy over Greenpeace started like a wildfire when the 21 pages report on the foreign funded NGO’s was leaked by the Intelligence Bureau ( IB )  calling the organization as “a threat to national economic security.[2]  The report also claimed that the role of the organization affects the GDP rate by 2-3[3] percent per annum. The following report ignored that in March 2012 when the high GDP rate of 9.2% had suddenly dropped to 5.3%[4] it was firstly because of the global economic slowdown secondly it was because of the poor performance of the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector is closely related to the primary sector i.e. the agricultural sector. Everything which is required by the secondary or the manufacturing sector is the end raw product of the primary or the agricultural sector. According to World Bank agricultural land in India admeasured about 60.47%[5] in the year 2011 which has reduced to 60.3%[6] in the year 2014. A fall of .43% in just a gap of three years for an agricultural country means that the policy of the government has certain loopholes which are acting as a barrier for agricultural growth. Moreover more than half of the Indian population is engaged in agricultural sector and shifting the focus from agricultural sector to other sectors would leave the farmers unemployed or their skills would go waste.

Further it is often argued that with the establishment of Multinational Corporations and with the Foreign Direct Investment there would be generation of employment but the point which is ignored is that the raw materials taken up by these companies are from the country where they have set up their corporation. Whenever the scenario of the farmers is looked into suicide cases are only taken into consideration but there are many tribal farmers who are earning more than they could have earned while doing a 9:00am to 5:00pm job. Ganesh Patel is a 60 year old tribal farmer in Gujrat earned 43 lakhs in the year 2011[7] from farming, it is quiet an irony that an IIM graduate earns lesser than this amount annually in India.

The basic objective of the Greenpeace is to raise the voice whenever the environment is being attacked by the environmental terrorists. The organisation in its history has never protested against the government but has always raised their voice against the private organizations. India has one of the oldest traditions of conducting Corporate Social Activities. Companies Act,2013 states that any company having a turnover of 100 Cr or more or a net profit of 5 Cr or more should mandatory spend 2% of their net profit per fiscal on CSR activities[8]. Similarly, London based organization Essars have their own CSR foundation which is concentrated on education, livelihood, women empowerment and health.[9]  These activities has definitely proved to be a ray of hope for many people but at the same time their policies have proved to malafide for many i.e. its joint venture the coal mining project with Hindalco. The recent order passed by the Parliament has led to the auctioning of all the coal mining projects taken up by the private industries. Thus, the project is at halt but the legal battle of Greenpeace started with this campaign.

 The organization has witnessed the undying support of the individual political leaders such as Mr Nitish Kumar with whose help Dharnai, a small village in Bihar received electricity which came up as a dream coming true for the villagers. It is the only place in India which has been generating electricity from past a few years by the renewable sources such as solar energy, wind energy etc. So, if a backward village like Dharnai can adopt the renewable energy and has shown successful results then surely for the big cities too it will prove to a boon for them.

Adopting renewable energy will not only generate electricity with a one time investment but also help in reducing crimes. At times at night when the street lights goes off due to electricity the streets are prone to criminal activities with the use of solar panels the electricity would hardly go off. All in all the organization is working within the constitutional limits and is working for the greener and cleaner world. The working of Greenpeace could be best described by the quote of  Bjorn Lomborg, “I think it’s great that we have organisations like Greenpeace. In a pluralistic society, we want to have people who point out all the problems that the Earth could encounter. But we need to understand that they are not presenting a full and rounded view”.[10]