Implementation of Environmental Laws in India

The requirement for insurance and protection of the environment and sustainable utilization of natural resources is reflected in the sacred system of India and furthermore in the global responsibilities of India. The Constitution under Part IVA (Art 51A-Fundamental Duties) throws an obligation on each resident of India to ensure and improve the regular habitat including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have empathy for living animals. Further, the Constitution of India under Part IV (Art 48A-Directive Principles of State Policies) specifies that the State will attempt to secure and improve nature and to protect the woodlands and untamed life of the nation.

Several environment protection legislations existed even before the Independence of India. However, the genuine push for placing in power a very much created system came simply after the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972). After the Stockholm Conference, the National Council for Environmental Policy and Planning was set up in 1972 within the Department of Science and Technology to set up an administrative body to care for the earth-related issues. This Gathering later developed into an undeniable Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).[1]

MoEF was established in 1985, which today is the summit authoritative body in the nation for directing and guaranteeing natural assurance and sets out the lawful and administrative structure for the equivalent. Since the 1970s, various condition enactments have been set up. The MoEF and the pollution control boards (“CPCB”, ie, Central Pollution Control Board and “SPCBs”, ie, State Pollution Control Boards together structure the administrative and managerial centre of the segment.

Environment Laws in India

Environmental laws are in India is enough to tackle the situation but the people lack conformity. Though there is a dedicated court concerned with environmental litigation despite that India is still facing the major environmental issue and India’s rank is 177 out of 180 countries in Environmental Performance Index 2019. Environmental law in India is truly facing a serious problem of implementation. With industrial development, deforestation, burgeoning population growth and lack of people knowledge about the environment and pollution, our natural resources are falling at a terrifying rate.

In particular, various laws have been passed by the government to prevent environmental damage such as the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974, the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1889 and the National Green Court Act, 2010. It should also strive to preserve the country’s forests and wildlife. Under Article 51(A) (g) of the Indian Constitution, every Indian citizen has a fundamental duty to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and should have compassion for living creatures.

Difficulties in implementing environment law

The State shall strive to protect and improve the ecosystem according to Article 48(A) of the Indian Constitution. As indicated by numerous studies and papers, India’s most basic impediment to implementation stems from the absence of a single governing agency for environmental security. There are more than 200 rules in the centre and in the state concerned with the environment. Too many laws create a problem in enforcing environmental laws. The multitude of laws from the central to the state and to the municipal level has created an extensive structure for laws and procedures that leads to confusion for industries and other companies.

With the following example, this has been reiterated in the case of Nagarjuna Paper Mills Ltd. V. S.D.M & R.D. Officer,[2] the question raised was arose before the Court whether the SDM was justified on the ground of pollution in the passing order for the shutdown of the factory. Within the ambit of public nuisance, the SDM dealt with the situation. It is evident that Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 deals with the public nuisance. In the other hand, Parliament passed the Air (Pollution Prevention and Control Act, 1981 according to Article 252(1) of the Constitution The State Pollution Control Boards execute the executive functions of the Air Act, as a delegation of executive functions is authorized by Article 258(2) of the Constitution. Pursuant to Article 258(3) of the Constitution, the Central Government is under a legal obligation to pay the States for the expenses of executing the assigned duties, although it contrasts Section 133 of Cr. P.C. where the SDM is in charge of the situation rather than the state pollution control board executives.

Suggestion to implement effectively environmental Laws

  • An incentive model needs to be given a Businesses, organizations, etc. to detect violations and take action to mitigate the problem. Financial aid, cost-sharing, should also be encouraged.[3]
  • The Government also needs to pass the Environmental Laws Amendment Bill, 2015, which seeks to impose a fine of 50-100 million rupees on civil liability for causing substantial environmental harm.
  • The National Environmental Policy 2006 recognizes and notes the need to transition towards a strict civil responsibility system focused on the polluter compensation concept rather than a criminal punishment process.
  • It is vital that laws give the society environmental values, and courts and tribunals should restrain from performing policy functions and should concentrate on creating a strong environmental jurisprudence.

Conclusion

Environmental Law in India, being a rising field drawing in cross-disciplinary examinations, as in numerous different nations represents a test to built-up thoughts of a legitimate framework. The obstacles that India has experienced in such a manner can be isolated into three generations; all of which are all totally different from one another. The first generation managed the trouble of bringing the entire ambit of natural law into the space of the current domain, diverting certain current laws with various targets and creating administration structures and frameworks, and so on. The second generation of challenges comprised of understanding issues, political, social and monetary trade-offs, shaping Indian modern turn of events, creating a foundation to receive eco-friendly innovation, actualizing our global commitments through national enactments and making mindfulness across areas.  Third generation difficulties arose due to pressures created from the implementation hurdles of second-generation changes and are a relatively new phenomenon across the country and internationally.


[1] Holder, J. and Lee, M., Environmental Protection, Law and Policy, (2007, 2nd ed.) at 41.

[2] 1997 3 SSC 812.

[3] Steele, J., Participation and Deliberation in Environmental Law: Exploring a Problem-solving Approach, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 21(3), (2001) at 439.

Satyam Batra from Institute of law, Nirma University

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