Salient features of the Water Pollution Act

Let us take a look at the major Sections of the Act.

  • Section 3 and Section 4: Constitution of the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards, respectively, are provided the authority to exercise the powers conferred to them under this Act.
  • Section 13: Constitution of a Joint Board.
    Under this Section, the Act prescribes the constitution of a Joint Board for pollution control if there is an agreement between
    (a) two or more State Governments of contiguous states or,
    (b) Central Government (representing one or more Union Territories) and State Governments contiguous to one or more Union Territories.
  • Section 16: Functions of the Central Board are described, some of which include:
    1. Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the prevention and control of water pollution
    2. Co-ordinate the activities of the State Boards and provide technical assistance and guidance
    3. Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water pollution
    4. Establish or recognize 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
  • Section 17: Functions of the State Board are described, some of which include:
    1. Plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of pollution of streams and wells in the State and to secure the execution
    2. Advice the state government on matters of water pollution
    3. Inspect and lay down, modify or annul effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents
    4. Evolve economical and reliable methods of treatment of sewage and trade effluents
  • Section 19: If the State Board feels that the provisions of this Act need not apply to some parts of the State, it may recommend the State Government to do so.
  • Section 20: This section provides power to the State Board to appoint person(s) on its behalf to take surveys of any area and gauge and keep records of flow, volume and other characteristics of streams and wells to perform its functions dutifully.
  • Section 33: This section gives power to the Boards to appeal to the courts to restrict certain actions, if it feels that it is likely to cause harm to water resources in an area. The court has the power to decide for or against such an application.
  • Under the Chapter for penalties, various penalties are described pertaining to the contravention of provisions of different Sections of this Act. For example, under Section 41, Whoever fails to comply with any order issued under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 32 or any direction issued by a court under sub-section (2) of section 33 or any direction issued under section 33A shall, in respect of each such failure and on conviction, 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.
  • Section 51 and Section 52: Under these Sections, the Act sets up the Central Water Laboratory and State Water Laboratory respectively.
  • Section 58: Bar of Jurisdiction
    This bars the civil courts any jurisdiction in entertaining matters pertaining to appeals under this Act, by stating that “No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an appellate authority constituted under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine, and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.” This effectively means that no person working to uphold this Act can be charged with offenses under the Act.

Aishwarya Says:

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