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ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986, Read daily Article Editorials only on Success Mantra Blog

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT 1986

Diksha Sharma 10 MINUTES

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change proposed amendments in the Environment Protection Act, 1986.Incidentally, the Environment Protection Act provisions will be in force for penal provisions of the single use plastic ban which has come into force recently.

What are Key Amendments proposed in the Environment Protection Act?

The Ministry has proposed the decriminalization of the existing provisions of the EPA, 1986 in order to weed out fear of imprisonment for simple violations. It involves removal of imprisonment as a penalty for the "less severe’’ contraventions. However, serious violations of EPA which lead to grievous injury or loss of life shall be covered under the provision of Indian Penal Code. Failure or contravention or non-compliance of the provisions of EPA such as submitting reports, furnishing information etc. will now be dealt by imposing a monetary penalty through duly authorized Adjudicating Officer. Instead of imprisonment, the amendments propose the creation of an Environmental Protection Fund in which the amount of penalty imposed by the Adjudicating Officer after adjudicating the damage to the environment shall be remitted. The Central Government may prescribe the manner in which the Protection Fund shall be administered.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986

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WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENT (PROTECTION) ACT, 1986?

The EPA, 1986 establishes the framework for studying, planning, and implementing long-term requirements of environmental safety and laying down a system of speedy and adequate response to situations threatening the environment.’

Background: The roots of the enactment of the EPA lies in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972 (Stockholm Conference), in which India participated, to take appropriate steps for the improvement of the human environment. The Act implements the decisions made at the Stockholm Conference.

Constitutional Provisions: The EPA Act was enacted under Article 253 of the Indian Constitution which provides for the enactment of legislation for giving effect to international agreements. Article 48A of the Constitution specifies that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. Article 51A further provides that every citizen shall protect the environment.

 

POWERS OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT:

EPA empowers the Central Government to establish authorities charged with the mandate of preventing environmental pollution in all its forms and to tackle specific environmental problems that are peculiar to different parts of the country.

EPA also empower the Government to: Plan and execute a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution. Lay down standards for the quality of the environment in its various aspects like emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources.

The Central government as per the Act has the power to direct: The closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process. The stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986

CURRENT STATUS OF OFFENCES AND PENALTIES UNDER EPA

Non-compliance or Contravention to any of the provisions of the Act is considered as an offence.

  • Cognizance of Offences: No Court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act except on a complaint made by: The Central Government or any authority on behalf of the former. A person who has approached the Courts after a 60-day notice has been furnished to the Central Government or the authority on its behalf.
  • Penalties: In case of any non-compliance or contravention of the current provisions of the EPA, or of the rules under this Act, the violator can be punished with imprisonment up to 5 years or with a fine up to Rs 1,00,000, or with both. In case of continuation of such violation, an additional fine of up to Rs 5,000 for every day during which such contravention continues after the conviction for the first such contravention can be levied. If the violation continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

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INITIATIVES TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENT?

India:

  • National River Conservation Programme
  • Green India Mission
  • National Afforestation Programme
  • National Coastal Management Programme
  • National Mission on Himalayan Studies under Climate Change Program

International Conventions to which India is a Signatory:

  • The Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987.
  • Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1989.
  • Rotterdam Convention, 1998.
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1992.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification, 1994

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986

TEST YOURSELF

Q.1 The Environment Protection Act was enacted under __________ of the Indian Constitution which provides for the enactment of legislation for giving effect to international agreements.

  1. Article 47(A)
  2. Article 253: ANSWER
  3. Article 319
  4. None of the above-mentioned

 

Q.2 Out of the given options, India is a signatory member to which of the following International Conventions?

  1. The Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987
  2. Rotterdam Convention, 1998
  3. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1992
  1. Only I follows
  2. I & III follows
  3. I, II & III follows: ANSWER
  4. None of the above-mentioned

 

Q.3 Consider the given statements regarding the penalties under the EPA Act & state which of the following is/are correct?

  1. In case of any non-compliance or contravention of the current provisions of the EPA, or of the rules under this Act, the violator can be punished with imprisonment up to 5 years or with a fine up to Rs 1,00,000, or with both.
  2. If the violation continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.
  1. Only I follows: ANSWER
  2. Only II follows
  3. Both I & II follows
  4. None of the following

 

Q.4 Examine the given options & state which of the following specialised agency/organization releases the Environmental Performance Index (EPI)?

  1. United Nations Development Programme
  2. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  3. World Economic Forum: ANSWER
  4. All of the above jointly

 

Q.5 Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by ________?

  1. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  2. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  3. World Environment Organisation (WEO)
  4. Both A & B: ANSWER

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