Comprehensive Notes on the Legal Aspects of Environmental Protection

Our environment was seriously discussed as an item of international agenda on 5th June 1972 in the U.N conference on Human Environment in Stockholm and thereafter 5th June is celebrated as world environment day all over the world.

In our constitution the provision for environmental protection was made in 1976 through 42 an indent under the article 48-A and article 51-A(g).

Some of the important Acts passed by the Government of India are discussed below:-

Wild Life Protection Act, 1972

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This Act was formed to provide protection to wild animals and birds. This Act has facilitated the appointment of wild life warden, other employees and constitution of a wild life advisory board.

i. As per position given in Act, for hunting animals except vermin, permission of chief wild life warden is invitation.

ii. Wild life warden would have to maintain the captured hunted animals.


iii. A special permission can be given to scientific management system, scientific research institution and education institution for wild life hunting and collection of specimen for zoological gardens, museum etc.

iv. The Act explains clearly that all wild life animals are the property of the Government. Trade commerce of wild animal and animal articles and trophies is strictly prohibited/ regulated.

v. The Act gives provision for establishment of sanctuaries, national parks, game reserves and closed areas.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (Amended in 1988)


i. This Act was enacted for provision of establishment of the central and state boards for pollution control.

ii. The Act decides the duties and function to be carried out by the central and state boards.

iii. The Act provides definition of pollution, sewage effluent, trade effluent, stream.

iv. The Act empowers water boards to obtain information, to take samples of effluent from any industry and to make survey of any area and gauge and keep record of the volume and other characteristics of any stream or well.

v. The water board empowers the person appointed, right of enter inspect and examine ^ any plant record, register, document or any other material or object to search any place where he has reason to believe that no offence of water pollution is committed.

vi. The Act has given power to boards to prohibit the use of any stream or well for discharging any pollutant is it.

vii. The water board empowers to restructure the out lets for dumping pollutants.

viii. The Act prohibits disposal of any noxious, poisonous or polluting matter to the flow of water in a stream. However, dumping of any material into a stream for the purpose of reclamation of land is not considered an offence.

ix. The act assigns punishment for violation of the Act which is in the form of fine and imprisonment.

The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 (Amended in 1988)

i. The forest strictly prohibits the use of forest land for non-forest purpose without the prior permission of central Government.

ii. Non-forest purposes include cultivation of tea, coffee, rubber, palms, oil-bearing plants, horticulture crops and medicinal plants.

iii. Forest land cannot be assigned for lease or to any person, authority, corporation, agency or any other organization without prior approval of central Government.

iv. The Act was amended in 1988 for incorporating more stringent penal provisions against violators of the Act.

Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (Amended in 1987)

i. The Act was passed in pursuance of decisions of Stockholm conference and under article 253 of the constitution of India.

ii. The Act defines relevant terms such as air pollution, air pollutants, automobiles, industrial plant etc.

iii. The Act provides provision for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution or preserves the quality of air.

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

This act was enacted in pursuance of decision of Stockholm conference to take appropriate steps for protection of human being, living creatures from hazards.

i. This is main legislation as it encompasses all the heights to plug the loopholes in the earlier laws.

ii. It provides power to central Government to issue direction-

a. For prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation and process.

b. It provides rights for stoppage or regulation of the supply of water, power or any other service, even without obtaining court orders.

iii. The Act gives power to the central Government to make rules for the first time for the-

a. Prohibitions and restriction on the location of industries and carrying out operations.

b. Procedures and safeguards for prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution.

c. Standards of quality of air, water and soil for various areas and for various purposes.

d. Maximum permissible limits of concentration for various environmental pollutants 4 (including noise) for different areas.

e. Providing remedial measures in case of accidents.

f. Prohibition/restriction on the location of industries and carrying out operations.

iv. Any person can make a complaint of violation of provisions of the Act to the central Government or authority or officer authorized for this purpose. The Act provides stringent penalties for defaulters.

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