October 4, 2022

Briefing the Water (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1974

KEY FEATURES OF THE ACT

  • This act establishes “Central Pollution Control Board” at Center to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States. and “State Pollution Control Board” at States to plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of pollution of streams and wells in the State and to advise the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution and other acts for the purpose of this act.
  • Two or more Governments of contiguous States, or Central Government in respect of one or more Union territories and one or more Governments of States contiguous to such Union territory or Union territories, may establish “Joint Pollution Control Board”.
  • This act defines the Pollution as “such contamination of water or such alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of water or such discharge of any sewage or trade effluent or of any other liquid, gaseous or solid substance into water (whether directly or indirectly) as may, or is likely to, create a nuisance or render such water harmful or injurious to public health or safety, or to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other legitimate uses, or to the life and health of animals or plants or of aquatic organisms”.
  • The state Government restrict the application of this act to any particular area or areas of the state.
  • State Board may make survey of any area and gauge and keep records of the flow or volume and other characteristics of any stream or well of any particular area and may take steps for the measurement and recording of the rainfall in such area.
  • State Board may, with a view to preventing or controlling pollution of water, give directions to any person in charge of any establishment where any industry, operation or process, or treatment and disposal system is carried on, to furnish information regarding the construction, installation or operation of such establishment or of any disposal system.
  • State Board or any officer empowered by it in this behalf shall have power to take for the purpose of analysis, samples of water from any stream or well or samples of any sewage or trade effluent which is passing from any plant or vessel or from or over any place into any such stream or well.
  • A person empowered by a State Board in this behalf shall have a right to enter at any place for the purpose of examining any plant, record, register, document or any other material object or for conducting a search of any place 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 plant, record, register, document or other material object, if he has reason to believe that it may furnish evidence of the commission of an offence punishable under this Act.
  • No person shall knowingly cause or permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into any stream or well or sewer or on land.

No person shall knowingly cause or permit to impede the proper flow of the water of the stream in a manner leading or likely to lead to a substantial aggravation of pollution due to other causes or of its consequences.

Whoever contravenes these provisions shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years and with fine.

  • No person shall, without the previous consent of the State Board, —
  • establish or take any steps to establish any industry, operation or process, or any treatment and disposal system or any extension or addition thereto, which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into a stream or well or sewer or on land; or
  •  bring into use any new or altered outlet for the discharge of sewage; or
  •  begin to make any new discharge of sewage:

“Outlet” includes any conduit pipe or channel, open or closed, carrying sewage or trade effluent or any other holding arrangement which causes, or is likely to cause, pollution.

Whoever contravenes these provisions shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years and with fine.

  • If at any place where any industry, operation or process, or any treatment and disposal system or any extension or addition thereto is being carried on, or any local authority operates any sewerage system or sewage works, and due to accident or other unforeseen act or event, any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter is discharged, into a stream or well or sewer or on land and, as a result of such discharge, the water in any stream or well is being polluted, then the person incharge of such place shall intimate the occurrence of such accident, act or event to the State Board and such other authorities or agencies as may be prescribed.
  • Where it appears to the State Board that any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter is present in any stream or well or on land by reason of the discharge of such matter in such stream or well or on such land or has entered into that stream or well due to any accident or other unforeseen act or event, and if the Board is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient to take immediate action, it may for reasons to be recorded in writing, carry out such operations as it may consider necessary for all or any of the following purposes, that is to say,—
  • removing that matter from the stream or well or on land and disposing it of in such manner as the Board considers appropriate;
  • remedying or mitigating any pollution caused by its presence in the stream or well;
  • issuing orders immediately restraining or prohibiting the person concerned from discharging any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into the stream or well or on land, or from making insanitary use of the stream or well.
  • Where it is apprehended by a Board that the water in any stream or well is likely to be polluted by reason of the disposal of any matter in such stream or well or in any sewer or on any land, or otherwise, the Board may make an application to a court, not inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class, for restraining the person who is likely to cause such pollution from so causing.
  • Whoever—
  • destroys, pulls down, removes, injures or defaces any pillar, post or stake fixed in the ground or any notice or other matter put up, inscribed or placed, by or under the authority of the Board, or
  • obstructs any person acting under the orders or directions of the Board from exercising his powers and performing his functions under this Act, or
  • damages any works or property belonging to the Board, or
  • fails to furnish to any officer or other employee of the Board any information required by him for the purpose of this Act, or
  • fails to intimate the occurrence of any accident or other unforeseen act or event to the Board and other authorities or agencies
  • in giving any information which he is required to give under this Act, knowingly or wilfully makes a statement which is false in any material particular, or
  • for the purpose of obtaining any consent, knowingly or wilfully makes a statement which is false in any material particular,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

  • Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was 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.
  • The central Government may establish a Central Water Laboratory and State Government may establish State Water Laboratory at state to analyse the samples of water or of sewage or trade effluent.

This article is written by Arshi hayat Gnagohi. She is a lawyer, blogger at ababeelfolks and writes on laws, culture, books, cinema, food and literature.