Frequently Asked Questions 

 

Water Prevention and control of Pollution Act, 1974

Q1.  How is Water Pollution defined under the Water Act 1974?

"Pollution" means contamination of water Alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of water Discharge of any sewage or trade effluent or any other liquid, gaseous or solid substance into water (whether directly indirectly) Which may, or is likely to, create a nuisance or render such water harmful or injurious to public health or safety, or to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other legitimate uses or to the life and health of animals or plants or of aquatic organisms.

Q3.  What are the objectives of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974?

The objectives of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act are to provide for the Prevention and Control of Pollution and the maintenance or restoration of the wholesomeness of water for the establishment, with a view to carrying out the purposes aforesaid, of Boards for the prevention and control of water pollution, for conferring on and assigning to such Boards powers and functions relating thereto and for matters connected therewith.

Q4.  What are the functions of the Central (Pollution Control) Board under the Water Act 1974?

Functions of Central Board :

  • Subject to the provisions of this Act, the main function of the Central Board shall be to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States.
  • In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing function, the Central Board may perform all or any of the following functions, namely -
  • Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the prevention and control of water pollution.  
  • Co-ordinate the activities of the State Boards and resolve dispute among them.  
  • Provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards, carry out and sponsor investigations and research relating to problems of water pollution and prevention, control or abatement of water pollution.  
  • Plan and organised the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes for the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution on such terms and conditions as the Central Board may specify.  
  • Organise through mass media a comprehensive programme regarding the prevention and control of water pollution.  
  • [perform such of the functions of any State Board as may be specified in an order made under Sub-section (2) of Section 18]  
  • Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water pollution and the measures devised for its effective prevention and control and prepare manuals, codes or guides relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents and disseminate information connected therewith  
  • Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the State Government concerned, the standards for a stream or well  
  • [Provided that different standards may be laid down for the same stream or well or for different streams or wells, having regard to the quality of waterflow characteristics of the stream or well and the nature of the use of the water in such stream or well or streams or wells]  
  • Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution.  
  • Perform such other functions as may be prescribed.

The Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the Board to perform its functions under this section efficiently, including the analysis of samples of water from any stream or well or of samples of any sewage or trade effluents.

Q5.  What are the functions of the State Boards under the Water Act 1974?

Functions of the State Boards:

  • Subject to the provisions of this Act, the functions of a State Board shall be :
  • To plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of pollution of streams and wells in the State and to secure the execution thereof  
  • To advise the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution.  
  • To collect and disseminate information relating to water pollution and the prevention, control of abatement thereof  
  • To encourage, conduct and participate in investigations and research relating to problems of water pollution and prevention, control or abatement of water pollution.  
  • To collaborate with the Central Board in organising the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes relating to prevention, control or abatement of water pollution and to organise mass education programmes relating thereto  
  • To inspect sewage or trade effluents, works and plants for the treatment of sewage and trade effluents and to review plans, specifications or other data relating to plants setup for the treatment of water, works for the purification thereof and the system for the disposal of sewage or trade effluents or in connection with the grant of any consent as required by this Act.  
  • To lie down, modify or annul effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents and for the quality or receiving waters (not being water in an inter-State stream) resulting from the discharge of effluents and to classify waters of the State.  
  • To evolve economical and reliable methods of treatment of sewage and trade effluents, having regard to the peculiar conditions of soils, climate and water resources of different regions and more especially the prevailing flow characteristics of water in streams and wells which render it impossible to attain even the minimum degree of dilution.  
  • To evolve methods of utilisation of sewage and suitable trade effluents in agriculture) To evolve efficient methods of disposal of sewage and trade effluents on land, as are necessary on account of the predominant conditions of scant stream flows that do not provide for major part of the year the minimum degree of dilution.  
  • To lay down standards of treatment of sewage and trade effluents to be discharged into any particular stream taking into account the minimum fair weather dilution available in that stream and the tolerance limits of pollution permissible in the water of the stream, after the discharge of such effluents.  
  • To make, vary or revoke any order
    • for the prevention, control or abatement of discharge of waste into streams or wells  
    • Requiring any person concerned to construct new systems for the disposal of sewage and trade effluents or to modify, alter or extend any such remedial measures as are necessary to prevent, control or abate water pollution.
    • To lay down effluent standards to be complied with by persons while causing discharge of sewage or sullage or both and to lay down, modify or annul effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents
    • To advise the State Government with respect to the location of any industry the carrying on of which is likely to pollute a stream or well
    • To perform such other functions as may be prescribed or as may, from time to time, be entrusted to it by the Central Board or the State Government.

The Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the Board to perform its functions under this section efficiently, including the analysis of samples of water from any stream or well or of samples of any sewage or trade effluents,

Q6.  What is the importance of Section 24 of the Water Act 1974?

According to Section 24 of the Water Act, 1974

  • No person should knowingly cause or permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter determined in accordance with such standards as may be laid down by the State Board to enter (whether directly or indirectly) into any stream or well or sewer or on land; or
     
  • No person shall knowingly cause or permit to enter into any stream any other matter which may tend, either directly or in combination with similar matters, to impede the proper flow of the Water of the stream in a manner leading or likely to lead to a substantial aggravation of pollution due to other causes or of its consequences.

However, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under sub-section (1) by reason only of having done or caused to be done any of the following acts, namely

  • Constructing, improving or maintaining in or across or on the bank or bed of any stream, any building, bridge, weir, dam, sluice, dock, pier, drain or sewer or other permanent works which he has a right to construct, improve or maintain.
     
  • Depositing any materials on the bank or in the bed of any stream for the purpose of reclaiming land or for supporting, repairing or protecting the bank of bed of such stream provided such materials are not capable of polluting such stream
     
  • Putting into any stream any sand or gravel or other natural deposit which has flowed from or been deposited by the current of such stream.
     
  • Causing or permitting, with the consent of the State Board, the deposit accumulated in a well, pond or reservoir to enter into any stream.

Penalty for contravention of provisions of Section-24 :

Whoever contravenes the provisions of Section 24 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years and with fine.

Q7.  Can the Municipal Corporation, Companies, and Government departments also prosecuted under the Water Act?

Yes. This is provided under sections 47 and 48 of the Water Act.

Section 47, offences by companies :

  • Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct, of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
     
  • Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
     
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation : For the purpose of this section

  • "Company" means any body corporate, and includes a firm or other association of individuals
     
  • "Director" in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm.

Section 48. Offences by Government Departments.

Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of Government, the head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Q8.  What emergency measures can the Central/State Pollution Boards take under the Water Act?

Emergency measures in case of pollution of stream or well:

  • Where it appears to the State Board that any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter is present in [any stream or well or on land by reason of the discharge of such matter in such stream or well or on such land] or has entered into that stream or well due to any accident or other unforeseen act or event, and if the Board is of opinion that it necessary or expedient to take immediate action, it may for reasons to be recorded in writing, carry out such operations as it may consider necessary for all or any of the following purposes, that it to say,
  • Removing that matter from the [stream or well or on land] and disposing it off in such manner as the Board considers appropriate
     
  • Remedying or mitigating any pollution caused by its presence in the stream or well.
     
  • Issuing orders immediately restraining or prohibiting the person concerned from discharging any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter [into the stream or well or on land], or from making insanitary use of the stream or well.

The power conferred by sub-section (1) does not include the power to construct any works other than works of a temporary character which are removed on or before the completion of the operations.

Q9.  What are the different powers given to the Central/State Pollution Control

Boards/Committees under the Water Act?

The powers given to Central / State Boards to make application to courts for restraining apprehended pollution of water in streams or wells:

  • Where it is apprehended by a Board that the water in any stream or well is likely to be polluted by reason of the disposal or likely disposal of any matter in such stream or well or in any sewer or on any land, or otherwise, the Board may make a application to a court, not inferior to that of a metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class, for restraining the person who is likely to cause such pollution from so causing.  
  • On receipt of an application under sub-section (1) the court may make such order as it deems fit. 
  • Where under sub-section(2) the court makes an order restraining any person from polluting the water in any stream or well, it may in that order
  • Direct the person who is likely to cause or has caused the pollution of the water in the stream or well, to desist from taking such action as is likely to cause pollution or, as the case may be, to remove from such stream or well, such matter
  • Authorise the Board, if the direction under Clause(I) (being a direction for the removal of any matter from such stream or well) is not complied with by the person to whom such direction is issued, to undertake the removal and disposal of the matter in such manner as may be specified by the Court.
  • All expenses incurred by the Board in removing any matter in pursuance of the authorisation under clause (ii) of sub-section (3) or in the disposal of any such matter may be defrayed out of any money obtained by the Board from such disposal and any balance outstanding shall be recoverable from the person concerned as arrears of land revenue or of public demand.

Section 33-A. Power to give directions

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, but subject to the provisions of this Act and to any directions that the Central Government may give in this behalf, a Board may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, issue any directions in writing to any person, officer or authority, and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions.

Explanation

For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power to issue directions under this section includes the power to direct

  • Closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process

Or

The stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity, water or any other service.

Q10.  What restriction does the Water Act impose on private citizens with respect to courts taking cognizance of offences under the Water Act?

Under this Act:

No court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a complaint made by any person who has given notice of not less than sixty days, in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and of his intention to make a complaint to the Board or officer authorised by the Board.

N.B.

  • No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.
     
  • Where a complaint has been made by any private citizen the Board shall, on demand by such person make available the relevant reports in its possession to that person.

The Board may refuse to make any such report available to such person if the same is, in its opinion, against the public interest.

Are there any provisions to safeguard rivers and (natural) lakes?

According to (Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of TamilNadu) GO No. 1 dated 06/02/84, of the a factory can come up at a distance of one kilometer from a river or natural waterbody. The Ministry of Environment and Forests passed a GO No. 213 dated 30.03.89 amending the distance from one kilometer of five kilometers.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of TamilNadu, in its GO No. 127 dated 8/5/98, has amended its earlier reference with respect the river, (GO No.213, Ministry of Environment and Forest, dated 30-8-89) that no industry coming under red category should be located within 5 km from major river Cauvery and its tributaries.  

Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

Q1. How is air pollution defined under the Air Act of 1981?

Air pollution means the presence in the atmosphere of any air pollutant.

Air pollutant means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance (including noise) present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment.

Q2. What are objectives of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981?

The objective of this Act is to provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, for the establishment, with a view to carrying out the aforesaid purposes, of Boards, for conferring on and assigning to such Boards powers and functions relating thereto and for matters connected therewith. 
Decisions were taken at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972, in which India participated, to take appropriate steps for the preservation of the natural resources of the earth which, among other things, includes the preservation of the quality of air and control of air pollution.

Therefore it is considered necessary to implement the decisions aforesaid insofar as they relate to the preservation of the quality of air and control of air pollution.

Q3. What are the functions of Central Board under the Air Act?

The main functions of the Central Board, as specified in Section 16 of the Act, shall be : 
To improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country; and in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing functions, the Central Board, may

  • Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the improvement of the quality of air and the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
     
  • Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
     
  • Coordinate the activities of the State Boards and resolve disputes among them.
     
  • Provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards, carry out and sponsor investigations and research relating to problems of air pollution and prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
     
  • Plan and organise the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution on such terms and conditions as the Central Board may specify.
     
  • Organise through mass media a comprehensive programme regarding the prevention, control or abatement or air pollution.
     
  • Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to air pollution and the measures devised for its effective prevention, control or abatement and prepare manuals, codes, or guides relating to prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
     
  • Lay down standards for the quality of air
     
  • Collect and disseminate information in respect of matters relating to air pollution.
     
  • Perform such other functions as may be prescribed, under Rules or under an order.

In addition to the above functions, the Central Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the Central Board to perform its functions under the Section efficiently, and it may

  • delegate any of its functions under the Act generally or specially to any of the Committees appointed by it; and
     

do such other things and perform such other acts as it may think necessary for the proper discharge of its functions and generally for the purpose of carrying into effect the purpose of the Act.

Q4. What are the functions of the State Boards under the Air Act 1981?

The functions of the State Board, as specified in Section 17, shall be:

  • To plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and to secure the execution thereof
     
  • To advise the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution
     
  • To collect and disseminate information relating to air pollution.
     
  • To collaborate with the Central Board in organising the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes relating to prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and to organise mass-education programmer relating thereto
     
  • To inspect, at all reasonable times, any control equipment, industrial plant or manufacturing process and to give by order, such directions to such persons as it may consider necessary to take steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
     
  • To inspect air pollution control areas at such intervals as it may think necessary, assess the quality of air therein and take steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution in such areas.
     
  • To lay down, in consultation with the Central Board and having regard to the standards for the quality of air laid down by the Central Board, standards for emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere from industrial plants and automobiles or for the discharge of any air pollutants into the atmosphere from any other source whatsoever not being a ship or an aircraft
     
  • Provided that different standards for emission may be laid down under this clause for different industrial plants having regard to the quantity and composition of emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere from such industrial plants.
     
  • To advise the State Government with respect to the suitability of any premises or location for carrying on any industry this is likely to cause air pollution.
     
  • To perform such other functions as may be prescribed or as may, from time to time, be entrusted to it by the Central Board or the State Government.
     
  • To do such other things and to perform such other acts as it may think necessary for the proper discharge of its functions and generally for the purpose of carrying into effect the purpose of the Act.

In addition to the above functions, the State Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the State Board to perform its above functions efficiently.

Q5. What is the importance of Sections 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Air Act ?

Section 19. Declaration of air pollution control area : 
The Act has provided for measures, which are

  • Preventive in nature, in the case of industries to be established
     
  • In the case of industries already established they are remedial

The primary responsibility of controlling air pollution is on the Board. The very first measure to be adopted in the respect is the declaration of any area or areas within the State as air pollution control area. The sub-section thus provides that the State Government may, after consultation with the State Board, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare in such manner as may be prescribed, any area or areas within the State as air pollution control area or areas for the purposes of the Act.
As regards power to give instructions for ensuring standards for emission from automobiles, Section 20 of the Act lays down that with a view to ensuring that the standards for emission of air pollutants from automobiles laid down by the State Board under clause (g) of sub-section(1) of Section 17 are complied with the State Government shall, in consultation with the State Board, give such instructions as may be deemed necessary to the concerned authority in charge of registration of motor vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and such authority shall notwithstanding anything contained in that Act or the rules made there under be bound to comply with such instructions.

Q6. What are the penalties for violation of various provisions the Air Act 1981?

Section 37 Failure to comply with the provisions of section 21 or section 22 or with the directions issued under section 31-A:

  • Whoever fails to comply with the provisions of section 21 or section 22 or directions issued under section 31-A, shall, in respect of each such failure, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years and with fine, and in case the failure continues, with an additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure continues after the conviction for the first such failure.
     
  • If the failure referred to in sub-section(1) continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment with a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years and with fine.

Section 38 Penalties for certain acts:

Whoever

  • Destroys, pulls down, removes, injures or defaces any pillar, post or stake fixed in the ground or any notice or other matter put up, inscribed or placed, by or under the authority of the Board, or
     
  • Obstructs any person acting under the orders or directions of the Board from exercising his powers and performing his functions under this Act, or
     
  • Damages any works or property belonging to the Board, or
     
  • Fails to furnish to the Board or any officer or other employee of the Board any information required by the Board or such officer or other employee for the purpose of this Act, or
     
  • Fails to intimate the occurrence of the emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere in excess of the standards laid down by the State Board or the apprehension of such occurrence, to the State Board and other prescribed authorities or agencies as required under Sub-Section(1) of Section 23, or
     
  • In giving any information which he is required to give under this Act, makes a statement which is false in any material particular, or
     
  • For the purpose of obtaining any consent under Section 21, makes a statement which is false in any material particular,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a team which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to (ten thousand rupees) or with both.
Section 39 Penalty for contravention of certain provisions of the Act.
Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or any order or direction issued thereunder, for which no penalty has been elsewhere provided in this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a team which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both, and in the case of continuing contravention, with an additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such contravention after conviction for the first such contravention.

Q7. Can companies and government departments be prosecuted under the Air Act?

Yes. This is provided under Section 40 and 41.

Section 40. Offences by companies.

  • Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
     
  • Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
     
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation :

  • "Company" means any body corporate, and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
     
  • "Direction", in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

Section 41. Offences by Government departments :

  • Where an offence under this act has been committed by any Department of Government, the Head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
     
  • Provided that nothing contained in this section shall render such Head of the Department liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any officer, other than the Head of the Department, such officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Q8. What restriction does the Air Act impose on private citizens with respect to courts taking offences under the Air Act?

Under this Act:

No court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a compliant made by any person who has given notice of not less that sixty days, in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and of his intention to make a compliant to the Board or officer authorised by the Board.

  • No Court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.
     
  • Where a compliant has been made by any private citizen the Board shall, on demand by such person, make available the relevant reports in its possession to that person.

The Board may refuse to make any such reports available to such person if the same is, in opinion, against the public interest.

Q9. What are the legal provisions under Indian Law to control automobile pollution?

"Automobile" means any vehicle powered either by internal combustion engine or by any method of generating power to drive such vehicle by burning fuel.

Power to give instructions for ensuring standards for emission from automobiles.

As regards power to give instructions for ensuring standards for emission from automobiles, Section 20 of the Act lays down that with a view to ensuring that the standards for emission of air pollutants from automobiles laid down by the State Board under clause(g) of Sub-section(1) of Section 17 are complied with, the State Government shall, in consultation with the State Board, give such instructions as may be deemed necessary to the concerned authority incharge of registration of motor vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and such authority shall notwithstanding anything contained in that Act or the rules made there under be bound to comply with such instructions.

 Environment Protection Act

Q1.  How are the term's "environment", "environmental pollutant", "environmental pollution" and "hazardous substance" defined under the E.P.A. 1986?

According to Section 2 of E.P.A.

  • "Environment" includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property.
     
  • "Environmental pollutant" means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance present in such concentration as may be, or tend to be, injurious to environment.
     
  • "Environmental pollution" means the presence in the environment of any environmental pollutant.  

"Hazardous substance" means any substance or preparation which, by reason of its chemical or physico-chemical properties or handling, is liable to cause harm to human beings, other living creatures; plants, microorganisms, property or the environment.

Q2.  What are the general powers of the Central Government under E.P.A. for the protection and improvement of environment?

Section 3. Power of Central Government to take measure to protect and improve the environment -

  • Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment pollution.  
  • In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), such measures may include measures with respect to all or any of the following matters, namely.
  • Co-ordination of actions by the State Governments, officers and other authorities
  • Under this Act, or the rules made thereunder
    Or
  • Under any other law for the time being in force which is relatable to the objects of this Act.
  • Planning and execution of a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.  
  • Laying down standards for the quantity of environment in its various aspects.  
  • Laying down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources whatsoever. Provided that different standards for emission or discharge may be laid down under this clause from different sources having regard to the quality or composition of the emission lr discharge of environmental pollutants from such sources.  
  • Restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards.  
  • Laying down procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution and remedial measures for such accidents.  
  • Laying down procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances.  
  • Examination of such manufacturing processes, materials and substances as are likely to cause environmental pollution.  
  • Carrying out and sponsoring investigations and research relating to problems of environmental pollution.  
  • Inspection of any premises, plant, equipment, machinery, manufacturing or other processes, materials or substances and giving, by order, of such directions to such authorities, officers or persons as it may consider necessary to take steps for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.  
  • Establishment or recognition of environmental laboratories and institutes to carry out the functions entrusted to such environmental laboratories and institutes under this Act.  
  • Collection and dissemination of information in respect of matters relating to environmental pollution.  
  • Preparation of manuals, codes or guides relating to the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.  
  • Such other matters as the Central Government deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of securing the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.
  • The Central Government may, if it consider it necessary or expedient so to do for the purposes of this Act, by order published in the Official Gazette, constitute an authority or authorities by such name or names as may be specified in the order for the purpose of exercising and performing such of the powers and functions (including the power to issue directions under Section 5) of the Central Government under this Act and for taking measures with respect to such of the matters referred to in sub-section(2) as may be mentioned in the order and subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government and the provisions of such order, such authority or authorities may exercise the powers or perform the functions or take the measures so mentioned in the order as if such authority had been empowered by this Act to exercise those powers or perform those functions or take such measures.

Section 4. Appointment of Officers and their powers and functions :

  • Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section(3) of Section 3, the Central Government may appoint officers with such designations as it thinks fit for the purpose of this Act and may entrust to them such of the powers and functions under the Act as it may deem fit.
     
  • The officers appointed under sub-section(1) shall be subject to the general control and direction of the Central Government or , if so directed by that Government, also of the authority or authorities, if any, constituted under sub-section(3) of Section 3 or of any other authority or officer.

Section 5. Power to give directions :

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law but subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions.

Explanation - For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power to issue directions under this section includes the power to direct

  • The closure, prohibition or regulation or any industry, operation or process.
    Or
  • Stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.

Section 6. Rules to regulate environmental pollution :

  • The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules in respect of all or any of the matters referred to in Section 3.
     
  • In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:
  • The standards of quality of air, water or soil for various areas and purposes.
     
  • The maximum allowable limits of concentration of various environmental pollutants (including noise) for different areas.
     
  • The procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances.
     
  • The prohibition and restrictions on the handling of hazardous substances in different areas.
     
  • The prohibition and restrictions on the location of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas.
  • The procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution and for providing for remedial measures for such accidents.

Q3.  Is pollution of load/soil covered under E.P.A?

Yes. Because under the E.P.A Environment includes water, air and land.

The sources of land pollution are :

  • The unintended or incidental pollution of soil with man made chemicals.
  • The spent material from mining, or processing, etc.
  • The discharge of sewage or waste water from urban areas on the land used for agricultural purposes, particularly that adjoining urban areas.
  • The indiscriminate disposal of solid waste (refuse).

Q4.  What are the requirements that are to be fulfilled under the E.P.A. by persons carrying on any industry, operation etc.?

According to Section 7, no person carrying on any industry, operation or process shall discharge or emit or permit to be discharged or emitted any environmental pollutants in excess of such standards as may be prescribed.

Q5. What are the penalties for violation under the E.P.A.?

  • Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made or orders or directions issued there under, shall, in respect of each such failure or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for a team which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention.
  • If the failure or contravention referred to in sub-section (1) continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

Q6.  Can companies and government departments be also prosecuted under E.P.A.?

Yes.

Q7.  What restriction does the E.P.A impose on private citizens with respect to courts taking cognizance of offences under the E.P.A. 1986?

Under this Act no court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a complaint made by any person who has given notice of not less than sixty days, in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and of his intention to make a complaint, to the Central Government or the authority or officer authorised as aforesaid.

Q8.  What is the effect of Section 24 of the E.P.A with respect to other laws that also deal with environment protection?

According to Section 24, where any act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this Act and also under any other Act then the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to be punished under the other Act and not under this Act.