International and Comparative Law Quarterly

Shorter Articles, Comments and Notes

Human Rights and Displacement: The Indian Supreme Court Decision on Sardar Sarovar in International Perspective

Philippe Culletf

The human and environmental consequences of big development projects such as large dams have been a focus of increasing attention in many countries. Large-scale involuntary resettlement caused by such projects has become particularly contentious in a number of situations. In India where many large dams have been and are being built, the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river has been at the centre of a storm for over a decade. The latest development in the history of this project is the judgment given by the Supreme Court of India on 18 October 2000 adjudicating a public interest litigation petition filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA—Save the Narmada Movement). This decision is of great significance not only for the project itself but also from a broader perspective.