We reported on March 16th the decision in New Zealand to grant the Whanganui river rights as a “legal person”.

India has followed this up, citing the New Zealand move, to declare the Ganges and Yamuna rivers to be people as well.  The Economist has a feature on both these developments, providing much more detail on the Whanganui case than we did.  The article ends:

Days after the law passed, an Indian court declared two of the biggest and most sacred rivers in India, the Ganges and Yamuna, to be people too.  Making explicit reference to the Whanganui settlement, the court assigned legal “parents” to protect and conserve their waters.  Local lawyers think the ruling might help fight severe pollution: the rivers’ defenders will no longer have to prove that discharges into them harm anyone, since any sullying of the waters will now be a crime against the river itself.  There is no doubt that of the 1.3bn-odd people in India, the Ganges and the Yamuna must be among the most downtrodden.