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AN ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION LAWS IN INDIA

Surendra

INTRODUCTION

The population of humans increases very rapidly especially in developing countries it has worse effects on the environment. For living sustainably and a quality life the protection and maintenance of the environment is very much important. The burden of diseases these days are increasing due to not taking proper care of environmental factors.

The degree of the environmental enactment network is obvious from the above conversation; however, the implementation of the laws has involved concern. One generally referred to reason is the overall order and control nature of the ecological system. Combined with this is the law’s pervasiveness of the law’s win big or bust methodology; they don’t think about the infringement’s degree. Fines are demanded on a level premise and there are no impetuses to bring down the releases underneath endorsed levels.

A couple of exercises have done regarding these issues in the ongoing past. The Government of India came out with a Policy Statement for Abatement of Pollution in 1992, preceding the Rio meeting, which pronounced that market-based methodologies would control contamination. This meeting concluded that the shifting of economic activities should be in the direction of preventive measures rather than curative measures. The work should also be done in the field of saving the expenses which are used in controlling pollution and conserving resources. The Ministry of Environment and Forest in 1995 established a team to assess market-based instruments, which unequivocally supported their utilization to lessen modern contamination. There should be different monetary incentives that can be used to enhance the command-and-control policies. These incentives may in the form of exemptions from customs duties, Depreciation allowances, and arrangement of loans for adopting green technologies. The use of remote sensing and geographical information systems in the management of natural resources and protection of the environment should also be expanded.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS        

Initially, the word ‘environment’ did not find a place in the Indian Constitution. It was covered through the constitutional amendment of 1976.

42nd Constitutional amendment Act, 1976 set stages for the protection of the environment. Art. 249 also acts as a regulatory instrument for the environmental protection, which reads as “Notwithstanding anything within the foregoing provisions of this chapter if the Council of States has declared by resolution supported by not, but two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make laws about any matter enumerated within the State List laid call at the resolution, it shall be lawful for Parliament to make laws for the whole or any a neighborhood of the territory of India about that matter while the resolution remains effective.”

Actually, these constitutional instruments were viewed as inadequate administrative instruments to solve the environment’s difficulties on a national level. It’s presumably the rationale that within the later years, the Report of the National Commission on Agricultural (NCA), 1976, had suggested for the exchange of the passages’ forest’ and ‘security of untamed creatures and birds’ from ‘State List’ to ‘Concurrent List.’ Necessitated by the then constitutional provisions’ insufficiency, the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976, inserted a replacement Article 48A, which reads, “The State shall endeavour to guard and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.”

Similarly, “Article 51 A (g) was inserted to impose fundamental duties on India’s citizens to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to possess compassion for living creatures”.

The Supreme Court of India, thus far as environmental legislation cares, has appropriately laid down the significance of Art. 48A and Art. 51A and said that Whenever a haul of ecology is brought before the Court, the main task is to determine whether appropriate considerations are borne in mind and irrelevancies excluded.

Environmental legislation can also be initiated under Art. 21 of Fundamental Rights, entitles Indian citizens to a safe and clean environment.

SOME GENERAL LAWS FOR PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT IN INDIA

The Water ( Prevention & Control of Pollution ) Act, 1974

The basic motive behind this act is to control and prevent water pollution and establish a body for the same. It laid the foundation for the central pollution control board at the union level to lay down the standard to prevent and control water pollution. Similarly, all the states have a state pollution control board working as per the guidelines of CPCB and the respective state governments.

In 1977, the water (prevention and control of pollution ) cess act came into effect. It provides for the collection of a cess on water used for certain industrial purposes.

The Air ( Prevention & Control of Pollution ) Act, 1981

The act enacted to prevent, reduce, and control air pollution and it also provided for the creation of boards for the same. Also, Air quality standards were laid down. The act empowered the state governments to declare any area within its premise as an air pollution control area after negotiating with the state pollution control board.

Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

Its basic aim is to provide compensation to the sufferers of an accident that occurred as an outcome of dealing with any hazardous substance.

The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

NGT was established through this act with the purpose of disposing of the cases relating to conservation and protection of the environment effectively. Its headquarters based in  New Delhi. The other purposes for the creation of the NGT were to deal with the different environmental laws. It also aimed at providing basic legal rights relating to the environment and ensuring proper compensation to the affected parties in case of incidental damages.

Environment Protection Act, 1986

After the disastrous incident of the Bhopal gas leak in 1984, the Indian government came up with the environment protection act 1986, using its power under Art. 253 of the Indian constitution. The main objective of this act was to protect, recover, and improve the environmental conditions for all living organisms. After the enactment, the union government got the power to take the necessary measures to ensure protection and improvement in the condition of the environment. It also aims to ensure the implementation of the resolutions passed by the united nations related to the environment.

National Environment Policy, 2006

The National Environmental Policy,2006 is a document released by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), It aware of the environmental concerns taking into account the depleting resources and the environmental quality. It calls attention to the role humans can play in the process of sustainable development. It highlights various issues like legality in the utilization of natural resources, development for all, etc. It also marks various strategies to meet its objectives; some of the strategies should be given importance such as education, technological innovations, intersectoral collaboration.

Draft Environment Impact Assessment EIA Notification, 2020

It was proposed by the MoEFCC, which replaces the notification released in 2006. The most prominent objective of EIA is to assess the impact of a project on the environment. The views of people are taken into account to decide the assent of any project. The government has been saying, the new notification makes the process more transparent. However, it was controversial as it seeks to bring out major changes that seem to be contentious. The main areas of disagreements are-

  1. Post-facto approval – As per the new notification, clearance can be obtained even if a project has been initiated without securing the required clearances.
  2. It has reduced the time span of the submission of public responses from 30 to 20 days.
  3. The frequency of compliance report has also been reduced from submitting the report twice a year (once every six months) to just once a year.

CONCLUSION

Environment protection is very important to conserve biodiversity. If society and government take action for the conservation of biodiversity it will enhance a better relationship between the environment and humanity. In this developing era, there is a need to create a well-developed framework for the protection of the environment and give more powers in the hand of Environmental regulatory authorities for better protection of the environment.

Author(s) Name: Shivendra Nath Mishra (Chanakya National Law University, Patna)

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