Environment Protection Act


    Environment Protection Act

    The Environment Protection Act, 1986 (‘the Act’) provides for the protection and improvement of the environment, for the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property, and for other matters relating to the environment. In particular, the Act outlines, among other things, the powers of the Government of India to take measures, appoint officers, and regulate environmental pollution, as well as outlining the prevention, abatement and control of pollution, and offences by companies. 

    Last Updated: July 30, 2019

  • Requirements

    Section 3(2)(vi) and Section 3(2)(vii) of the Act grant the Government of India the power to take measures to protect and improve environment by: 

    • laying down procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution and remedial measures for such accidents; and 
    • laying down procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances.

    These procedures and rules to regulate environmental pollution, and their compliance, are also outlined in Section 6(2)(c) and Section 6(2)(f) of the Act. Moreover, Section 8 of the Act expressly outlines and requires that persons handling hazardous substances comply with procedural safeguards that may be prescribed by the Government of India, and in line with its rule-making powers under Section 25(2)(b) of the Act in relation to compliance with which hazardous substances. 

    Furthermore, Section 11 of the Act provides for the power of the Government of India or any officer empowered by it in this behalf, to take, for the purpose of analysis, samples of air, water, soil or other substance from any factory, premises or other place. 

    Section 20 of the Act provides that the Central Government may, in relation to its functions under this Act, from time to time, require any person, officer, State Government or other authority to furnish to it or any prescribed authority or officer any reports, returns, statistics, accounts and other information and such person, officer, State Government or other authority shall be bound to do so. 

    In the event of non-compliance with the provisions and obligations of the Act, actions which fail to comply with or contravene any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made or orders or directions issued, will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to INR 100,000 (approx. €1,290), or with both. In addition, if the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to INR 5,000 (approx. €65) for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention (Section 15 of the Act). 

    Furthermore, Section 16 of the Act outlines that where any offence under the Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable. Furthermore, where an offence under the Act has been committed by a company, and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed guilty of that offence and shall be liable (Section 16(2) of the Act).  

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