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Law Service

Environment Law
Legislative History

After independence, we did not have any precise environmental policy. In the 1970s government took many steps to improve environmental conditions but none of those were any concrete steps. Concrete steps were taken after the Stockholm Conference. Two years after the Stockholm Conference the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 was passed for the purpose of prevention and control of water pollution and for maintaining and restoring the wholesomeness of water. In 1980, the Forest (Conservation) Act was passed for the conservation of forests and to check on further deforestation. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was enacted in 1981.An umbrella legislation which could play a significant role in environment protection was enacted in the form of Environment (Protection) Act in the year 1986.

Environment Law in India

Healthy environment is a basic right of every individual, but industrialization has made this an impossible feat to achieve. Pollution is widespread, be it in water, air or land and it is growing day by day. Effective measures and steps to curb this growing rate of pollution is the need of the hour. Any failure on this part would only rob us of our rights to live in a healthy environment.

But then that does not prevent mankind from venturing into new industrial activities which only places additional burden on environment. It is in situations like these that the environment protection legislations come into being. There are specific legislation governing the pollution of air, water, land etc, there are many other rules and regulations like the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules in 1989, the Biomedical Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules in 1998, Recycled Plastics (Manufacture and Usage) Rules 1999, Environment (Silting for Industrial Projects) Rules 1999 and the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules in 2000.In addition to these eco-specific legislations, realizing that there is no comprehensive legislation dealing with biodiversity in India, and to fulfill its international obligation under the Convention on Bio-Diversity, the Government of India has enacted the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

All these environmental legislations and rules have been formulated and enacted with the objective of maintaining a healthy environment and to curb the deterioration of the environment which is taking place at an alarming rate. Only with the proper and stricter implementation of these legislations and rules can the environment be saved.

Client Segments

Environmental Law has gained importance in recent time. Earlier business entities could get away without any punishment even if they violated any environmental policy, but the scenario has changed. Increased awareness with regard to the different environmental issues makes it impossible for a business entity to be let off easily if they have violated any environmental rules and regulations. Thus it is important that the business entities before they start their business gather a fair understanding of all the environmental legislation which would be applicable with regard to their business activity. If they do not do the same then they might end up breaching any environmental legislation and due to this they might have to incur severe penalty. In order to be on the safer side it is better to perform an environmental law audit, so as to have an idea about the environmental laws and regulations which are applicable with regard to a particular business activity and the different obligations and steps which you have to take in order to ensure compliance with the applicable environmental rules and regulations.

Related Enactments

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
It is the principal legislation governing the issues of environmental law in the country.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974
The legislation works towards prevention and control of water pollution and for maintaining and restoring the wholesomeness of water.

The Forest (Conservation) Act 1980
The legislation works towards conservation of forests and to check on further deforestation.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981
The Act aims to reduce air pollution.

Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
The legislation works towards the conservation of biological diversity.