Environment Law

In the Constitution of India it is clearly stated that it is the duty of the state to ‘protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’. It imposes a duty on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife’. The constitutional provisions are backed by a number of laws – acts, rules, and notifications. Reference to the environment has also been made in the Directive Principles of State Policy as well as the Fundamental Rights. The Department of Environment was established in India in 1980 to ensure a healthy environment for the country. This later became the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985.

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 came into force soon after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and is considered an umbrella legislation as it fills many gaps in the existing laws. Thereafter a large number of laws came into existence as the problems began arising.

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 authorizes the central government to protect and improve environmental quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or restrict the setting and /or operation of any industrial facility on environmental grounds. The Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 lay down procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants. The Objective of Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 is to control the generation, collection, treatment, import, storage, and handling of hazardous waste. The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Rules, 1989 define the terms used in this context, and sets up an authority to inspect, once a year, the industrial activity connected with hazardous chemicals and isolated storage facilities. The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous Micro-organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules, 1989 were introduced with a view to protect the environment, nature, and health, in connection with the application of gene technology and microorganisms. The Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules and Amendment, 1992 was drawn up to provide for public liability insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident while handling any hazardous substance. The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995 has been created to award compensation for damages to persons, property, and the environment arising from any activity involving hazardous substances. The Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 is a legal binding on the health care institutions to streamline the process of proper handling of hospital waste such as segregation, disposal, collection, and treatment. The Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules, 1999 lay down detailed provisions relating to areas to be avoided for siting of industries, precautionary measures to be taken for site selecting as also the aspects of environmental protection which should have been incorporated during the implementation of the industrial development projects. The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 has been created to hear appeals with respect to restrictions of areas in which classes of industries etc. are carried out or prescribed subject to certain safeguards under the EPA. The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 apply to every municipal authority responsible for the collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing, and disposal of municipal solid wastes. The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control), 2000 Rules have been laid down for the regulation of production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 rules shall apply to every manufacturer, importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealer, auctioneer, consumer, and bulk consumer involved in the manufacture, processing, sale, purchase, and use of batteries or components so as to regulate and ensure the environmentally safe disposal of used batteries. The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) (Amendment), 2002 Rules lay down such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit use of loud speakers or public address systems during night hours (between 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight) on or during any cultural or religious festive occasion. The Biological Diversity Act is an act to provide for the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and knowledge associated with it. The Indian Forest Act and Amendment, 1984, is one of the many surviving colonial statutes. It was enacted to ‘consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produce, and the duty leviable on timber and other forest produce’. The Wildlife Protection Act, Rules 1973 and Amendment 1991 provides for the protection of birds and animals and for all matters that are connected to it whether it be their habitat or the waterhole or the forests that sustain them. The Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules, 1981, provides for the protection of and the conservation of the forests. The Easement Act, 1882 allows private rights to use a resource that is, groundwater, by viewing it as an attachment to the land. It also states that all surface water belongs to the state and is a state property. The Indian Fisheries Act, 1887 establishes two sets of penal offences whereby the government can sue any person who uses dynamite or other explosive substance in any way (whether coastal or inland) with intent to catch or destroy any fish or poisonous fish in order to kill. The River Boards Act, 1956 enables the states to enroll the central government in setting up an Advisory River Board to resolve issues in inter-state cooperation. The Merchant Shipping Act, 1970 aims to deal with waste arising from ships along the coastal areas within a specified radius. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste into effluent bodies. The CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) was constituted under this act. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 provides for the levy and collection of cess or fees on water consuming industries and local authorities. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978 contains the standard definitions and indicate the kind of and location of meters that every consumer of water is required to affix. The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 puts regulations on various activities, including construction, are regulated. It gives some protection to the backwaters and estuaries. The Factories Act and Amendment in 1987 was the first to express concern for the working environment of the workers. The amendment of 1987 has sharpened its environmental focus and expanded its application to hazardous processes. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 provides for the control and abatement of air pollution. It entrusts the power of enforcing this act to the CPCB. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1982 defines the procedures of the meetings of the Boards and the powers entrusted to them. The Atomic Energy Act, 1982 deals with the radioactive waste. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act, 1987 empowers the central and state pollution control boards to meet with grave emergencies of air pollution. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 states that all hazardous waste is to be properly packaged, labelled, and transported.

Compliance of Pollution Norms In Big Buildings: [In-house] Sewage & Waste Water Treatment Plant; Composting Arrangement for Bio-degradable Waste; Rainwater Harvesting; Clearance From Pollution Checking Body for Generator Sets;

Concerned Ministries: Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC)

Concerned Departments: Department of Environment.

Statutory & Mandatory Approvals & Clearances in Compliance of Pollution Norms: Environmental Approvals under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 & Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Clearance From Pollution Checking Body for Generator Sets.  

Approvals & Clearances Authorities: Delhi Pollution Control Committee; State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) / Pollution Control Committee (PCC).      

Hello Counsel provides advice on environmental laws, rules and regulations, governmental incentives available to further environmental interests, including tax credits, grants and land use provisions. We advise our clients on regulatory compliances related to environment protection laws. Our attorneys have in depth knowledge on the environment legislations. We have assisted numerous companies in developing policies, procedures and systems, obtaining No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from Pollution Control Boards (both central and state) under Air and Water Pollution Acts, minimizing the risk of damage to their corporate reputation by helping them establish a name for responsible environmental stewardship. We also advise clients on environmental market transactions (carbon trading).

Court & Fora: Environmental Laws

  • Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
  • High Court of the concerned State.
  • National Environment Appellate Authority
  • National Green Tribunal: Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi, Delhi 110001; Phone: 011 2304 3501.

Legislations Governing Water, Air, Forest, and Wildlife

  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 [As Amended Upto Date in 1987].
  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1982
  • Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.
  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.
  • Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991.
  • Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules, 1989.
  • Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules, 1989.
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 [EPA].
  • Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
  • Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules, 1999.
  • Factories Act, 1948
  • Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules, 1981.
  • Handling and Management of Hazardous Waste Rules in 1989.
  • Indian Easement Act, 1882.
  • Indian Fisheries Act, 1887.
  • Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Amendment, 1984
  • Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Rules, 1989.
  • Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous micro-organisms Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989 & Amendment Of 2006, 2007 & 2010.  
  • Merchant Shipping Act, 1970
  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  • Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
  • National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997.
  • National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995.
  • Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) (Amendment), 2002.
  • Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control), 2000.
  • Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules and Amendment, 1992.
  • River Boards Act, 1956
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Wildlife Protection Act, Rules 1973 and Amendment 1991.

Judgments: Governing Environmental Laws

  • Central India AYUSH Drugs Manufacturers Association Versus State Of Maharashtra, Writ Petition No. 6360/2015, Judgment Dated: 28.09.2016, Bench: B.P. Dharmadhikari & A.S. Chandurkar, JJ, Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench [Full PDF Judgment]: NGT Can’t Decide Constitutionality Of Statutory Provisions 
  • Manoj Misra Versus Delhi Development Authority &Ors., Original Application No. 65 of 2016, Judgment Dated: 09.03.2016, Bench: Swatanter Kumar, J, Chairperson & M.S. Nambiar, J, & Dr. D.K. Agrawal, Judicial Member, Bikram Singh Sajwan, Expert Member, National green Tribunal [Full PDF Judgment]- Held, 7. It is the consistent view of the Experts and is sufficiently evident from the documents placed on record that the flood plains have been drastically tampered with while destroying the natural flow of the river, reeds, grasses, natural vegetation on the river bed. It has further disturbed the aquatic life of the river and destroyed water bodies and wet lands on the flood plains, which were in existence, as noticed in our judgment in the case of Manoj Misra vs. Union of India and Ors., OA No.6 of 2012 decided on 13th January, 2015. Furthermore, they have constructed ramps, roads, compaction of earth, pontoon bridges and other semi-permanent or temporary structures etc. even without the permission of the concerned authorities including Ministry of Water Resources. The permission granted by Government of NCT of Delhi is of no consequence as it is not the competent authority for rights over the river and in any case, it was a permission for only flood situation as is evident from the bare reading of the permission. In fact, that is the stand of Government of NCT of Delhi itself before the Tribunal. For the damage caused to the environment, ecology, biodiversity and aquatic life of the river, the Foundation should be held liable for its restoration in all respects. In that regard and in exercise of our powers under Sections 15 and 17 of the NGT Act, 2010 we impose an Environmental Compensation, initially of Rs. 5 crores. This amount would be paid by the Foundation prior to the commencement of the event. This amount would be adjusted towards the final compensation determined to be paid by the Foundation for restoration work. We hereby direct the Principal Committee constituted under the judgment, to submit a report within four weeks from today, in relation to the steps required to be taken for restoration, restitution and rejuvenation of the flood plains to its original status. It will also state the approximate cost that would have to be incurred for such restoration and restitution. We further direct that the entire area in question shall be developed as a biodiversity park in terms of our judgment in the case of Manoj Mishra (supra). The cost thereof shall be paid by the Foundation and DDA in the proportion as would be directed by the Tribunal finally. The Foundation shall, by tomorrow, file an undertaking before the Tribunal that it would, within two weeks from date of demand by DDA, pay the balance amount for restoration, as directed by the Tribunal. The Principal Committee would be entitled to engage such other experts as it needs to assess the cost factor. We also constitute a Committee of the representatives of DPCC, MoEF&CC and Member Secretary, CPCB, who shall immediately inspect the site and issue directions by tomorrow in relation to the source of water, collection and disposal of the Municipal Solid Waste and sewerage generated during the event and also issue directions to ensure that there is no further environmental degradation or adverse impact on public health. They shall also issue directions with regard to the source of water and source of power and its utilization thereof. These would be treated as directions issued under Section 33A of the Water Act and Section 6 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and would be binding upon the Foundation and all public authorities involved in the case. 8. The permission granted by the DDA dated 30th June, 2015 is a vague permission, which, in fact, is the very basis of the case of the Foundation. However, irrespective of that, we find that the said permission is not in consonance with the orders of the NGT and in fact is in excess of the powers vested in DDA which runs contrary to the spirit of the judgment of the Tribunal. This cannot be termed as a recreational activity simplicitor. Cultural activity could be recreational but the entire construction of ramps, roads, accumulation of debris, alteration of the natural topography and removal of natural vegetation from the flood plains, cannot be said to be recreational. It is a complete project in itself and the DDA ought to have applied its mind. Strangely, it has neither conducted inspection of the site prior to the grant of permission nor during operation or subsequent thereto. Consequently, we impose a cost of Rs.5 lacs on DDA for its defaults and non-performance of its statutory functions. 9. We also direct that the DDA shall not, in future, issue such permission and any permission issued by the DDA or any State/Authority in relation to flood plain of River Yamuna, shall be subject to the orders of the Tribunal. 10. The learned counsel appearing for the Foundation has given an undertaking to the Tribunal that it will not release any kind of Enzymes into River Yamuna, its tributaries or any water bodies henceforth without obtaining due permission of CPCB and DPCC.”
  • Occupational Health and Safety Association Versus. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 79/2005, Judgment Dated: 31/01/2014, Bench: K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.: A.K. Sikri, J., Supreme Court Of India, Citation: 2014 AIR(SC) 1469: 2014(4) SCR 10: 2014(3) SCC 547: 2014(2) JT 427: 2014(1) SCALE 734: 2014(2) Supreme 505: 2014(3) SLT 570- Constitution of India-  Articles 21, 14, 39(e), (f), 41, 42, 32, 226 & 136-  Clean, hygienic and safe environment-  Right to live in, scope-  Discussed-  Environmental Law-  Clean, hygienic and safe environment-  Right to live in, scope- Consumer Education & Research Centre and others v. Union of India and others, (1995) 3 SCC 42, Relied on (Para 10)- HELD: Right to health i.e. right to live in a clean, hygienic and safe environment is a right flowing from Article 21. Clean surroundings lead to healthy body and healthy mind. But, unfortunately, for eking a livelihood and for national interest, many employees work in dangerous, risky and unhygienic environment. Right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy, particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Articles 39, 41 and 42. Those Articles include protection of health and strength of workers and just and humane conditions of work. Those are minimum requirements which must exist to enable a person to live with human dignity. Every State has an obligation and duty to provide at least the minimum condition ensuring human dignity. But when workers are engaged in such hazardous and risky jobs, then the responsibility and duty on the State is double-fold. Occupational health and safety issues of CFTPPs are associated with thermal discharge, air and coal emission, fire hazards, explosion hazards etc. Dust emanates also contain free silica associated with silicosis, arsenic leading to skin and lung cancer, coal dust leading to black lung and the potential harmful substances. Necessity for constant supervision and to the drive to mitigate the harmful effects on the workers is of extreme importance (Para 10).
  • Protection Of Etc. From The Forest Fire – UttHC- Ban On Killing Of Wildlife- 19.12.2016.

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