Bare Act

THE ENVIRONMENT (PROTECTION) ACT, 1986 

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ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 

Last Updated: 27-8-2021 

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CHAPTER I 

PRELIMINARY 

SECTIONS 

  1. Short title, extent and commencement.
  2. Definitions.

CHAPTER II 

GENERAL POWERS OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT 

  1. Power of Central Government to take measures to protect and improve environment. 4. Appointment of officers and their powers and functions.
  2. Power to give directions.

5A. Appeal to National Green Tribunal. 

  1. Rules to regulate environmental pollution.

CHAPTER III 

PREVENTION, CONTROL AND ABATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUCTION 7. Persons carrying on industry, operations, etc., not to allow emission or discharge of  environmental pollutants in excess of the standards. 

  1. Persons handling hazardous substances to comply with procedural safeguards. 9. Furnishing of information to authorities and agencies in certain cases.
  2. Powers of entry and inspection.
  3. Power to take sample and procedure to be followed in connection therewith. 12. Environmental laboratories.
  4. Government Analysts.
  5. Reports of Government Analysts.
  6. Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act and the rules, orders and directions. 16. Offences by companies.
  7. Offences by Government Departments.

CHAPTER IV 

MISCELLANEOUS 

  1. Protection of action taken in good faith.
  2. Cognizance of offences.
  3. Information, reports or returns.
  4. Members, officers and employees of the authority constituted under Section 3 to be public servants.
  5. Bar of jurisdiction.
  6. Power to delegate.
  7. Effect of other laws.
  8. Power to make rules.
  9. Rules made under this Act to be laid before Parliament.

THE ENVIRONMENT (PROTECTION) ACT, 1986 

ACT NO. 29 OF1986 

[23rd May, 1986.] 

An Act to provide for the protection and improvement of environment and for matters connected  therewith. 

WHEREAS decisions were taken at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at  Stockholm in June, 1972, in which India participated, to take appropriate steps for the protection and  improvement of human environment; 

ANDWHEREAS it is considered necessary further to implement the decisions aforesaid in so far as they  relate to the protection and improvement of environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings,  other living creatures, plants and property; 

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-seventh Year of the Republic of India as follows: CHAPTER I 

PRELIMINARY 

  1. Short title, extent and commencement.(1) This Act may be called the Environment  (Protection) Act, 1986. 

(2) It extends to the whole of India. 

(3) It shall come into force on such date1as the Central Government may, by notification in the  Official Gazette, appoint and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and for  different areas. 

  1. Definitions.In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,— 

(a) “environment” includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and  between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and  property; 

(b) “environmental pollutant” means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance present in such  concentration as may be, or tend to be, injurious to environment; 

(c) “environmental pollution” means the presence in the environment of any environmental  pollutant; 

(d) “handling”, in relation to any substance, means the manufacture, processing, treatment,  package, storage, transportation, use, collection, destruction, conversion, offering for sale, transfer or  the like of such substance; 

(e) “hazardous substance” means any substance or preparation which, by reason of its chemical or  physico-chemical properties or handling, is liable to cause harm to human beings, other living  creatures, plants, micro-organism, property or the environment; 

(f) “occupier”, in relation to any factory or premises, means a person who has control over the  affairs of the factory or the premises and includes, in relation to any substance, the person in  possession of the substance; 

(g) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act. 

  

  1. 19thNovember, 1986, vide notification No. G.S.R.1198(E), dated 12thNovember, 1986, see Gazette of India,  Extraordinary, Part II, sec. 3(i).

CHAPTER II 

GENERAL POWERS OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT 

  1. Power of Central Government to take measures to protect and improve environment.(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government shall have the power to take all such  measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of  the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution. 

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), such  measures may include measures with respect to all or any of the following matters, namely:— 

(i) co-ordination of actions by the State Governments, officers and other authorities (a) under this Act, or the rules made thereunder; or 

(b) under any other law for the time being in force which is relatable to the objects of this  Act; 

(ii) planning and execution of a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and  abatement of environmental pollution; 

(iii) laying down standards for the quality of environment in its various aspects; 

(iv) laying down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various  sources whatsoever: 

Provided that different standards for emission or discharge may be laid down under this clause  from different sources having regard to the quality or composition of the emission or discharge of  environmental pollutants from such sources; 

(v) restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries,  operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards; 

(vi) laying down procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause  environmental pollution and remedial measures for such accidents; 

(vii) laying down procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances; 

(viii) examination of such manufacturing processes, materials and substances as are likely to  cause environmental pollution; 

(ix) carrying out and sponsoring investigations and research relating to problems of  environmental pollution; 

(x) inspection of any premises, plant, equipment, machinery, manufacturing or other processes,  materials or substances and giving, by order, of such directions to such authorities, officers or persons  as it may consider necessary to take steps for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental  pollution; 

(xi) establishment or recognition of environmental laboratories and institutes to carry out the  functions entrusted to such environmental laboratories and institutes under this Act; 

(xii) collection and dissemination of information in respect of matters relating to environmental  pollution; 

(xiii) preparation of manuals, codes or guides relating to the prevention, control and abatement of  environmental pollution; 

(xiv) such other matters as the Central Government deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of securing the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.

(3) The Central Government may, if it considers it necessary or expedient so to do for the purposes of  this Act, by order, published in the Official Gazette, constitute an authority or authorities by such name or  names as may be specified in the order for the purpose of exercising and performing such of the powers  and functions (including the power to issue directions under section 5) of the Central Government under  this Act and for taking measures with respect to such of the matters referred to in sub-section (2) as may  be mentioned in the order and subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government and the  provisions of such order, such authority or authorities may exercise the powers or perform the functions  or take the measures so mentioned in the order as if such authority or authorities had been empowered by  this Act to exercise those powers or perform those functions or take such measures. 

  1. Appointment of officers and their powers and functions.(1) Without prejudice to the  provisions of sub-section (3) of section 3, the Central Government may appoint officers with such  designations as it thinks fit for the purposes of this Act and may entrust to them such of the powers and  functions under this Act as it may deem fit. 

(2) The officers appointed under sub-section (1) shall be subject to the general control and direction  of the Central Government or, if so directed by that Government, also of the authority or authorities, if  any, constituted under sub-section (3) of section 3 or of any other authority or officer. 

  1. Power to give directions.Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law but subject to the  provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its  functions under this Act, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such  person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions. 

Explanation.For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power to issue directions  under this section includes the power to direct 

(a) the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process; or (b) stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service. 

1[5A. Appeal to National Green Tribunal.Any person aggrieved by any directions issues under  section 5, on or after the commencement of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, may file an appeal to  the National Green Tribunal established under section 3 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, in accordance with the provisions of that Act.] 

  1. Rules to regulate environmental pollution.(1) The Central Government may, by notification in  the Official Gazette, make rules in respect of all or any of the matters referred to in section 3. 

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may  provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:— 

(a) the standards of quality of air, water or soil for various areas and purposes; 

(b) the maximum allowable limits of concentration of various environmental pollutants (including  noise) for different areas; 

(c) the procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances; 

(d) the prohibition and restrictions on the handling of hazardous substances in different areas; 

(e) the prohibition and restrictions on the location of industries and the carrying on of processes  and operations in different areas; 

(f) the procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental  pollution and for providing for remedial measures for such accidents. 

CHAPTER III 

PREVENTION, CONTROL AND ABATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUCTION 

  1. Persons carrying on industry, operation, etc., not to allow emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in excess of the standards.No person carrying on any industry, operation  

  

  1. Ins. by Act 19 of 2010, s. 36 and Schedule III (w.e.f. 18-10-2010).

or process shall discharge or emit or permit to be discharged or emitted any environmental pollutant in  excess or such standards as may be prescribed. 

  1. Persons handling hazardous substances to comply with procedural safeguards.No person  shall handle or cause to be handled any hazardous substance except in accordance with such procedure  and after complying with such safeguards as may be prescribed. 
  2. Furnishing of information to authorities and agencies in certain cases.(1) Where the  discharge of any environmental pollutant in excess of the prescribed standards occurs or is apprehended  to occur due to any accident or other unforeseen act or event, the person responsible for such discharge  and the person in charge of the place at which such discharge occurs or is apprehended to occur shall be  bound to prevent or mitigate the environmental pollution caused as a result of such discharge and shall  also forthwith— 

(a) intimate the fact of such occurrence or apprehension of such occurrence; and (b) be bound, if called upon, to render all assistance, 

to such authorities or agencies as may be prescribed. 

(2) On receipt of information with respect to the fact or apprehension of any occurrence of the nature  referred to in sub-section (1), whether through intimation under that sub-section or otherwise, the  authorities or agencies referred to in sub-section (1) shall, as early as practicable, cause such remedial  measures to be taken as are necessary to prevent or mitigate the environmental pollution. 

(3) The expenses, if any, incurred by any authority or agency with respect to the remedial measures  referred to in sub-section (2), together with interest (at such reasonable rate as the Government may, by  order, fix) from the date when a demand for the expenses is made until it is paid, may be recovered by  such authority or agency from the person concerned as arrears of land revenue or of public demand. 

  1. Powers of entry and inspection.(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, any person empowered by the Central Government in this behalf shall have a right to enter, at all reasonable times with such assistance as he considers necessary, any place 

(a) for the purpose of performing any of the functions of the Central Government entrusted to  him; 

(b) for the purpose of determining whether and if so in what manner, any such functions are to be  performed or whether any provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder or any notice, order,  direction or authorisation served, made, given or granted under this Act is being or has been complied  with; 

(c) for the purpose of examining and testing any equipment, industrial plant, record, register,  document or any other material object or for conducting a search of any building in which he has  reason to believe that an offence under this Act or the rules made thereunder has been or is being or is  about to be committed and for seizing any such equipment, industrial plant, record, register,  document or other material object if he has reasons to believe that it may furnish evidence of the  commission of an offence punishable under this Act or the rules made thereunder or that such seizure  is necessary to prevent or mitigate environmental pollution. 

(2) Every person carrying on any industry, operation or process or handling any hazardous substance shall be bound to render all assistance to the person empowered by the Central Government under sub section (1) for carrying out the functions under that sub-section and if he fails to do so without any  reasonable cause or excuse, he shall be guilty of an offence under this Act. 

(3) If any person wilfully delays or obstructs any person empowered by the Central Government  under sub-section (1) in the performance of his functions, he shall be guilty of an offence under this Act. (4) the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or, in relation to the State of  Jammu and Kashmir*, or any area in which that Code is not in force, the provisions of any corresponding  law in force in that State or area shall, so far as may be, apply to any search or seizure under this section  as they apply to any search or seizure made under the authority of a warrant issued under section 94 of the  said Code or, as the case may be, under the corresponding provision of the said law. 

*. Vide notification No. S.O. 3912(E), dated 30th October, 2019, this Act is made applicable to the Union territory of Jammu  and Kashmir and the Union territory of Ladakh.

  1. Power to take sample and procedure to be followed in connection therewith.(1) The Central Government or any officer empowered by it in this behalf, shall have power to take, for the purpose of analysis, samples of air, water, soil or other substance from any factory, premises or other  place in such manner as may be prescribed. 

(2) The result of any analysis of a sample taken under sub-section (1) shall not be admissible in  evidence in any legal proceeding unless the provisions of sub-sections (3) and (4) are complied with. 

(3) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), the person taking the sample under sub-section (1shall, 

(a) serve on the occupier or his agent or person in charge of the place, a notice, then and there, in  such form as may be prescribed, of his intention to have it so analysed; 

(b) in the presence of the occupier or his agent or person, collect a sample for analysis; 

(c) cause the sample to be placed in a container or containers which shall be marked and sealed  and shall also be signed both by the person taking the sample and the occupier or his agent or person; 

(d) send without delay, the container or the containers to the laboratory established or recognised  by the Central Government under section 12. 

(4) When a sample is taken for analysis under sub-section (1) and the person taking the sample serves  on the occupier or his agent or person, a notice under clause (a) of sub-section (3), then, 

(a) in a case where the occupier, his agent or person wilfully absents himself, the person taking  the sample shall collect the sample for analysis to be placed in a container or containers which shall  be marked and sealed and shall also be signed by the person taking the sample, and 

(b) in a case where the occupier or his agent or person present at the time of taking the sample  refuses to sign the marked and sealed container or containers of the sample as required under clause  (c) of sub-section (3), the marked and sealed container or containers shall be signed by the person  taking the samples, 

and the container or containers shall be sent without delay by the person taking the sample for analysis to  the laboratory established or recognised under section 12 and such person shall inform the Government  Analyst appointed or recognised under section 13 in writing, about the wilful absence of the occupier or  his agent or person, or, as the case may be, his refusal to sign the container or containers. 

  1. Environmental laboratories.(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official  Gazette,— 

(a) establish one or more environmental laboratories; 

(b) recognise one or more laboratories or institutes as environmental laboratories to carry out the  functions entrusted to an environmental laboratory under this Act. 

(2) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules specifying(a) the functions of the environmental laboratory; 

(b) the procedure for the submission to the said laboratory of samples of air, water, soil or other  substance for analysis or tests, the form of the laboratory report thereon and the fees payable for such  report; 

(c) such other matters as may be necessary or expedient to enable that laboratory to carry out its  functions. 

  1. Government Analysts.The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette,  appoint or recognise such persons as it thinks fit and having the prescribed qualifications to be 

Government Analysts for the purpose of analysis of samples of air, water, soil or other substance sent for  analysis to any environmental laboratory established or recognised under sub-section (1) of section 12. 

  1. Reports of Government Analysts.Any document purporting to be a report signed by a  Government Analyst may be used as evidence of the facts stated therein in any proceeding under this Act. 
  2. Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act and the rules, orders and directions. (1) Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made or  orders or directions issued thereunder, shall, in respect of each such failure or contravention, be  punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend  to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine  which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention  continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention. 

(2) If the failure or contravention referred to in sub-section (1) continues beyond a period of one year  after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may  extend to seven years. 

  1. Offences by companies.(1) Where any offence under this 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 to be proceeded against and punished  accordingly: 

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any  punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or  that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. 

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this 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 deemed to be guilty of  that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. 

Explanation.For the purposes of this section, 

(a) “company” means any body corporate, and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and 

(b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm. 

  1. Offences by Government Departments.(1) Where an offence under this Act has been  committed by any Department of Government, the Head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty  of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: 

Provided that nothing contained in this section shall render such Head of the Department liable to any  punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all  due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. 

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been  committed by a Department of Government 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 officer, other than the Head  of the Department, such officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be 

proceeded against and punished accordingly.

CHAPTER IV 

MISCELLANEOUS 

  1. Protection of action taken in good faith.—No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall  lie against the Government or any officer or other employee of the Government or any authority  constituted under this Act or any member, officer or other employee of such authority in respect of  anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of this Act or the rules made or  orders or directions issued thereunder. 
  2. Cognizance of offences.No court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act except on  a complaint made by,— 

(a) the Central Government or any authority or officer authorised in this behalf by that  Government; or 

(b) any person who has given notice of not less than sixty days, in the manner prescribed, of the  alleged offence and of his intention to make a complaint, to the Central Government or the authority  or officer authorised as aforesaid. 

  1. Information, reports or returns.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. 
  2. Members, officers and employees of the authority constituted under section 3 to be public servants.All the members of the authority, constituted, if any, under section 3 and all officers and other  employees of such authority when acting or purporting to act in pursuance of any provisions of this Act or  the rules made or orders or directions issued thereunder shall be deemed to be public servants within the  meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860). 
  3. Bar of jurisdiction.No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in  respect of anything done, action taken or order or direction issued by the Central Government or any  other authority or officer in pursuance of any power conferred by or in relation to its or his functions  under this Act. 
  4. Power to delegate.Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 3, the  Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, delegate, subject to such conditions and  limitations as may be specified in the notification, such of its powers and functions under this Act [except  the power to constitute an authority under sub-section (3) of section 3 and to make rules under section 25]  as it may deem necessary or expedient, to any officer, State Government or other authority. 
  5. Effect of other laws.(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the provisions of this Act  and the rules or orders made therein shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith  contained in any enactment other than this Act. 

(2) Where any act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this Act and also under any  other Act then the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to be punished under the other Act  and not under this Act. 

  1. Power to make rules.(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette,  make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act. 

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may  provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:— 

(a) the standards in excess of which environmental pollutants shall not be discharged or emitted  under section 7; 

(b) the procedure in accordance with and the safeguards in compliance with which hazardous  substances shall be handled or cause to be handled under section 8;

(c) the authorities or agencies to which intimation of the fact of occurrence or apprehension of  occurrence of the discharge of any environmental pollutant in excess of the prescribed standards shall  be given and to whom all assistance shall be bound to be rendered under sub-section (1) of section 9; 

(d) the manner in which samples of air, water, soil or other substance for the purpose of analysis  shall be taken under sub-section (1) of section 11; 

(e) the form in which notice of intention to have a sample analysed shall be served underclause  (a) of sub-section (3) of section 11; 

(f) the functions of the environmental laboratories, the procedure for the submission to such  laboratories of samples of air, water, soil and other substances for analysis or test; the form of  laboratory report; the fees payable for such report and other matters to enable such laboratories to  carry out their functions under sub-section (2) of section 12; 

(g) the qualifications of Government Analyst appointed or recognised for the purpose of analysis  of samples of air, water, soil or other substances under section 13; 

(h) the manner in which notice of the offence and of the intention to make a complaint to the  Central Government shall be given under clause (b) of section 19; 

(i) the authority or officer to whom any reports, returns, statistics accounts and other information  shall be furnished under section 20; 

(j) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed. 

  1. Rules made under this Act to be laid before Parliament.Every rule made under this Act  shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session,  for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive  sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive  sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that  the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no  effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without  prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.