Environment Protection Act 1986

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 20, 2022, 8:57

The damage to humankind's home, i.e., nature and the consequences of the damage, is not unknown to all. Due to growing concerns from civilisations and industrialisations, the government incorporated the Environment Protection Act 1986. It was a thoughtful step towards environmental safe-keeping and improvement. The Act was legislated in May 1986 because of the aftermath of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984. The Act was implemented in November 1986.

Overview of the Environment Protection Act 1986

The Act's primary purpose is to ensure sustained development, protection, and improvement of the environment. It provides various actions to incorporate the same and punishment in the case of non-abidance by any person or organisation. Through sustainable development, the Act aims to imbibe the objective and mission of the Environment Protection Act 1986 and achieve the protection of life (under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution).

Objectives of the Environment Protection Act 1986

The objectives of the Environment Protection Act 1986 are as follows:

  • Formed to carry out the decisions made at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972
  • Instils government protection and regulation toward environmental safety
  • Coordinates the actions of various regulating bodies working towards the cause
  • Enforces general environmental laws in case of environmental hazards
  • Provides penalising codes for individuals and institutions for environmental damage
  • Promotes sustainable environmental development

Who can file a complaint under the Environment Protection Act 1986?

The Environment Protection Act 1986 allows the following parties to file a complaint in case of infringement of any objectives of rules of the Act.

  • The central government or any regulatory institution related to the government
  • Any individual who has the intention to or who files the complaint within sixty days against the doing of the alleged offence

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Who is not liable under the Environment Protection Act 1986?

Under the purview of section 16 of the Environment Protection Act 1986, if not proven otherwise, and in charge of a company such as a manager, directors secretary etc. are not liable in the case of -

  • An action is performed without their knowledge
  • If they have taken due actions to prevent the offence
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Punishment for the Infringement of Environment Protection Act 1986

In the event of a breach of the Act, Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 lays out the following punishment for endangering the human environment, safety and health.

  • Imprisonment of up to five years
  • Fine of up to one lakh rupees
  • Both imprisonment and fine
  • In the case of continued offence, the imprisonment time could be extended to seven years

Though many additional environmental acts have been introduced into the Indian legislative, the Environment Protection Act 1986 was created to encompass all aspects and challenges of the environment.

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FAQs on Environment Protection Act 1986

Q1. When did the Environment Protection Act come into force, and what events triggered it?

The Environment Protection Act was passed in November 1986. The events of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy- considered one of the most severe industrial disasters began with the legislation and enforcement of the Act.

Q2. What is the primary goal of the Environment Protection Act 1986?

The Act's primary objective of the Environment Protection Act 1986 -

  • Sustainable development of the environment
  • Preservation and improvement of the environment
  • Achieve protection of life as covered under Article 21 of the constitution

Q3. Within what time should a concerned party file a complaint under the Environment Protection Act?

A party should file the complaint under the Environment Protection Act within sixty days of the execution of the alleged offence.

Q4. Which section of the Environment Protection Act 1986 defines the scope of penalising companies for partaking in offences against environmental protection?

Section 16 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 defines the scope of punishment for companies.

Q5. What action can be taken against any liable individual proven to contravene the environmental laws under the Environment Protection Act?

The liable party can be fined Rs. One Lakhs or imprisonment up to five years when proven to violate environmental laws under the Environment Protection Act. Continued violations can also extend the imprisonment to seven years.