What is the Environment Protection Act? Main Objectives & Penalties for Rule Violation!

In 1986, the Environment (Protection) Act was passed. Its primary goal upon enactment was to safeguard and enhance the environment and address related issues. All types of pollution air, water, soil, and noise are covered under the Act. It establishes safe thresholds for several types of environmental contaminants.

What is the Environment Protection Act?

The Environment Protection Act of 1986 is a law passed by the Indian Parliament. It was passed into law in May 1986 and went into effect on November 19, 1986. It comprises 4 chapters and 26 sections. 

Most people agree that the Act was a reaction to the Bhopal gas spill. The Indian government approved the Act by Article 253 of the Indian Constitution, which gives the union government the authority to pass legislation to implement the terms of any global agreements the nation has signed. 

Implementing the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment is the aim of the Act. They have to do with safeguarding and enhancing the environment for people and preventing risks to people, other living things, plants, and property.

The current state of environmental clearance is harmful to development and the environment?

Governments in emerging nations must strike a balance between the need for development and infrastructure expansion and environmental regulations. This is known as the political-economic conundrum.  

The purpose of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations’ Environmental Clearance (EC) provision was to strike a balance between environmental protection and development. But it appears like the scales are leaning too much in favor of the latter. 

The government imposed a six-month embargo in 2017 on businesses that failed to obtain environmental clearance. Later, in 2021, this was extended; however, the notice was contested before the Madras High Court, which issued a stay order. 

The notice was then halted by the Supreme Court in January 2024, and the Court’s ultimate ruling is still pending. Essentially, the Supreme Court suspended the notification between 2017 and 2024, resulting in the ex post facto environmental approval of over 100 projects. 

For many years, obtaining permits from the Environmental Protection Agency for commercial and infrastructure projects has been an unresolved matter. Now is the moment to shift from environmentalism to development and vice versa.

What is the main objective or purpose of this law?

The main objectives of the 1986 Environment Protection Act (EPA) were to safeguard and enhance the environment and deal with issues related to environmental preservation. Some of the main purposes of the Environment Protection Act (EPA) are as follows:

  • Comprehensive Regulation: All types of pollution, including those in the air, soil, water, and noise, are covered by the Act. It establishes safe thresholds for several types of environmental contaminants.
  • Hazardous Substances Control: The Act gives regulatory agencies the authority to establish pollution discharge and emission limits. It also gives authorities the right to control and handle dangerous materials.
  • Umbrella Law: Because the Environment (Protection) Act establishes the foundation for environmental control in India, it is frequently referred to as the “umbrella” law. It addresses significant infrastructure and industrial operations and forbids or restricts some activities in coastal and environmentally vulnerable areas.
  • Prevention and Abatement: The Act seeks to stop, manage, and lessen pollution in the environment. It aims to protect property, people, and other living things against environmental dangers.

What are the penalties for violating this act?

Penalties for violators of the Environment Protection Act of 1986 (EPA) include the following:

  • A maximum of five years behind bars.
  • A ₹1,00,000 fine is possible.
  • After the first conviction, a daily fine of up to ₹5,000 may be assessed if the infraction continues.
  • For repeated offenses after one-year post-conviction, a jail of a maximum of seven years can be imposed.

What are the key provisions of the act?

In terms of environmental protection, the EPA gives the Center the authority to take any such action as it considers necessary.

  • It is authorized by law to supervise the implementation of national environmental protection initiatives and to enforce environmental quality standards, especially concerning the release or emission of pollutants.
  • The location of industries may be restricted under this law.
  • The law grants the government the right of entrance for inspection, technology testing, and other purposes. It also grants the government the right to analyze samples of air, water, soil, or any other material from any location.
  • The release of environmental contaminants above the limits of established regulatory requirements is expressly prohibited by the EPA.
  • The Act gives everyone, save authorized government officials, the ability to complain to a court about any violation of the Act’s provisions.

Leave a Comment