Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation vs. Union of India & Ors

Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation vs. Union of India & Ors
Before the Supreme Court of India
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 659 of 2007
Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation
Union of India & Ors.
Date of Judgement
11th August, 2017
Hon'ble Justice Madan B. Lokur, Hon'ble Justice Deepak Gupta


This petition was filed under article 32 of the constitution in order to bring a ray of hope among the widows residing in Vrindavan Ashram anywhere else in the country that they have the right to live with dignity.

Statues & provisions involved:

a. Articles 21 & 32 of the Constitution of India.

b. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

c. Articles 13 & 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Judicial background:

The petitioner, a non-political body and it is also a registered charitable society named, Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation. Under Article 32 of the Constitution, it filed a petition.

It was essential and an appropriate writ requiring the rehabilitate the widows of Vrindavan so as to bring them to a stage where they can live with dignity and to direct Union of India and Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to do the needful or to take further steps to recuperate the standard of living of widows.


The petition was recorded based on the article ‘White Shadows of Vrindavan’ composed by Atul Sethi and distributed in the New Delhi release of the Times of India on 25th March 2007. The evident expectation of the article was to report and bring to the notification of general society and the administration organizations the regrettable and stunning states of the widows living in Vrindavan – begging in temples and afterward clustering together in cabins.

The article portrayed the city of Vrindavan in which surrendered widows live a hand to mouth existence like white shadows consequently giving the city another name that is the City of Widows. As indicated by the creator, nobody knows since when these widows have been coming to Vrindavan however the vast majority of them are from West Bengal and their biographies frequently W.P. (C) Nos. 659 of 2007 and so on follow a comparative example which is the passing of the spouse, family members leaving them in Vrindavan, days spent singing supplications and asking at sanctuaries where they live on an everyday premise.


a. The issue here was how to broaden the scope of view for remedies effectively against social stigma and stereotype that victimize widows; and,

b. Why it is the need of the hour to encourage widow remarriage?


On April 01, 2011, the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Government of India was impleaded as one of the respondents and on 09 May 2012, this Court guided that so as to alleviate the agonies of the widows, a Special Committee ought to be established to embrace an activity of distinguishing proof and list of the desperate in Vrindavan – both those having a cover and those meandering in the boulevards with no asylum.

The Committee was required to gather total information of the widows including the explanation behind their moving to Vrindavan and points of interest about their family and their present income source. A few different requests were sat back to time all the more especially from 2015 onwards when the Social Justice Bench was comprised of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. Thus, countless reports were produced and concerned specialists like the National Commission for Women, the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the State of Uttar Pradesh started checking out the issues looked by the widows of Vrindavan.

On the basis of those reports and information, it was contended that there can be next to zero uncertainty at all that widows in certain parts of the nation are socially denied and to a degree isolated. Maybe this is the motivation behind why a large number of them decide to come to Vrindavan and different ashrams where, sadly, they are not treated with the poise they merit. This is obvious from the article that caused this open intrigue suit of Public Interest Petition and the aggregation of reports that this case has created. It is to give voice these unfortunate widows that it got important for this Court to mediate as a piece of its protected obligation and for reasons of social equity to give fitting headings.


A huge number of widows having a place with the denied and defenseless segments of mankind are seeking the courts for improving their living conditions and making essential human rights important for them. They have been sobbing for equity yet their cries have so far been in the wild. They have been enduring foul play quietly with the tolerance of a stone, without the quality even to shed any tears.

The Court directed to do the needful or to take further steps to recuperate or to uplift the standard of living of widows. Taking into account the accommodation made, the court directed all the State Governments and Union Territories Administrations to make available through email to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Women all the plans that are in power for down and out ladies. The National Commission for Women should then examine the Schemes and turn out with one reasonable, implementable and Model Scheme.

Ratio Decidendi:

This Public Interest Litigation is an open intrigue suit that is brought under the Court, not to uphold the right of one individual against another as occurs on account of usual and ordinary litigation.

However, it is proposed to advance and vindicate open intrigue which requests that infringement of protected or legitimate rights of enormous quantities of individuals who are poor, oblivious or in a socially or financially distraught position ought not to go unnoticed and underdressed. That rule of law should be destructive and oppressive in nature which structures one of the basic components of public interest for any democratic Government.


Without a doubt at all that widows in several divisions of the country are communally destitute and to a level detested. That’s why a lot of them prefer to come up to Vrindavan and other ashrams where, regrettably, they don’t get the respect, the esteem they ought to have. It is essential to provide the tone of voice to these miserable for maintaining social justice & to ensure issue appropriate directions for the protection of their rights.

Edited by Parul Soni

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Adya Aditi Samal
I’m Adya Aditi Samal, pursuing B.A. LL.B in Xavier Law School. I’m a self-motivated law student who believes in the idea that “there is always someone better than you”, and this makes me keep going. I love to learn new things because I feel learning refine you, redefines you. I’ve been an ardent admirer of world history, psychology and mythology all through my life. Finally, my heart found solace when I fell in love with criminal law and human rights law. The intrinsically intimate thread between society and law mesmerizes me every time. In my leisure, I write poems and short stories in Odia. And finally; I don’t eat to live but rather live to eat.