Environment Laws in India

India has got an ancient tradition of protecting environment and considering it as a part of their culture. Festivals such as Sarhul in Jharkhand, Bathukamma in Telangana are the perfect example of rich tradition in which we Indians are seen worshiping nature. But since India attained Independence and started being industrialized, condition of environment changed drastically. Now India has a major problem regarding pollution. With the increasing modernization, there came a need to create strict environment laws. Following is the list of some important environment laws in India.

  1. The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 – This act was established with the objective to provide for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to property and with matter concerned with it. The National Green Tribunal under this act was set up in 2010. It is guided by the principal of natural justice and it is said to dispose cases within six months of filing the case. This tribunal have the jurisdiction to deal with the civil cases where the substantial question relating to the environment is involved and settle such disputes and pass on orders and decisions thereon.
  • Environment (protection) Act, 1986 – This actwas enacted in the year 1986 with the main objective to provide the protection and improvement of the environment and for matter concerned with it. The term environment got a very wide term under section 2(A) of this act. It includes water, air, land and as well as the interrelationship that exists between them and with human being along with other living creatures. The Environment Protection Act empowers Central Government to take all such measures as it deems necessary for the protection of environment. It also aims to provide harsh punishment to those who endanger the environment health and society. The landmark case of M.C Mehta V Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 734 comes under the purview of Environment (protection) Act.
  • The Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981 – The Air (Prevention and control of Pollution) Act is established to prevent the worsening of air quality. This act makes provision for the establishment Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at the highest level and Sate Pollution Control Board at the state level. To counter the air pollution, ambient air quality air standards were established under this act. The provision of this act says that no person shall without the consent of the state board establish or operate any industrial plant in an air pollution control area. There are few norms prescribed under this act failing which can bring penalty including jail term for at least 1.5 year.
  • The Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974 – This act was formulated in 1974 to prevent the pollution of water by industrial, agricultural and household wastewater that can contaminate our water resources. The main objective of this act was to provide for prevention, control and lessening of water pollution and the maintenance of clean water for people. It talks about setting up of PCBs by central government and state government to monitor water pollution. Further water Pollution Cess Act, 1977 was enacted which states that anyone consuming water is bound to pay a certain amount of tax depending on whether the water is used for industrial use or for domestic purpose. This act further provides a rebate of 70 percent on the tax payable if the industries has installed a suitable treatment plant for the discharge water.
  • Forest Conservation Act, 1980 – this act was established with the objective to maintain ecology and to preserve the forest of our country. It aims to regenerate the forests by planting trees and increase the forest growth in our country. This act has made restrictions on the state government and other authorities to make decisions in some matter without the prior permission of central government. Under this act, an advisory may be formed by the central government to advise on the matters relating to forest conservation. This act also provides penalties for the violation of provisions of this act.

Aishwarya Says:

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