Environmental Legislation in India

Environmental Legislation in India

Environmental Legislation in India

Environmental Laws in India seek to control industrialization and urbanization, whose uncontrolled pursuit of satiating individuals' desires has resulted in a dire environmental scenario. Current Environmental Laws in India support resource management and conservation in equal measure. Environmental legislation in India functions as an instrument for defining public policy through ‘enactment and implementation’ of a set of consistent, authoritative and general rules.
The code of environmental law in India is structured to efficiently address the issues of resource exploitation, environmental deterioration, human health, and more while ensuring a balanced and successful interaction between human and nature.


Prehistoric Man: Relationship between Man and Environment was very balanced because of their very limited need.
Modern Man: Relationship between Man and Environment becomes hostile because of human greed or the needs for human existence.


1. Article 48A of Indian Constitution- It is the duty of the state to protect and improve the environment and to preserve the flora and fauna of the nation, thereby imposing a duty on every citizen to work towards its conservation and advancement.
2. Article 21 of Indian Constitution- Gives every Indian citizen a fundamental right to live in a healthy and pollution-free environment.
3. The environmental degradation over the past few centuries has resulted in a massive climate shift and thus the need for Environment Legislation in India.
4. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy which resulted in massive human death tolls in 1984 and its aftermath due to the leak of the toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas into the environment was an alarming call to further strengthen the environmental laws in India.
5. Quality Waste Management- The environmental legislation in India needs to assure that waste is managed in a manner that is neither harmful to the environment nor to human health.
6. Guidelines for Industries and Production Companies- The environmental laws in India set up by the Indian Government work as guidelines even for the initial set up of such companies, hence compelling them to abide by the legal obligations.


The Ministry of Environment and Forest is primarily concerned with the implementation of policies and programmes related to environmental law in India, such as conservation of forests, country’s natural resources including lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals and prevention and abatement of pollution.

These objectives are well supported by a set of legislative and regulatory measures enacted by the Government of India in the form of environmental legislation in India.


The Indian government has enacted a number of legislations to safeguard the environment and biodiversity; following is a list and explanation of the significant and influential environmental laws in India. 

I. General Rules and Acts related to environment and Hazardous waste 

The Environment (Protection) Act
Confers authority on the Central Govt. to safeguard and advance the environmental quality, control and limit pollution from various sources and ensure the industrial setup is in accordance with the guidelines.
The Environment (Protection) Rules
Lays down the methods for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants.
The objective of Hazardous Waste(Management and Handling )Rules
Controls the generation, collection, treatment, import, storage, and handling of hazardous waste 
The manufacture, Storage, and import of Hazardous Rules
Provides for setting up an authority for conducting an inspection once in a year for activities concerned with hazardous-chemicals and isolated-storage-facilities. 
The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous microorganisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules
For the protection of Nature, environment, and health in relation to the usage of gene tech and microorganisms. 
The Public Liability Insurance Act
For the purpose of ensuring immediate relief to the victims of an accident while dealing with hazardous substances.
The National Environment Tribunal Act
For providing compensation for damages to individuals, property, and the environment due to any activity while handling hazardous substances.
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act
Establishing such authority for hearing of appeals with respect to restricted areas and subjects under The Environment Protection Act,1986.
The Biomedical Waste(management and Handling) Rules
Legal obligations on the health care-facilities to well-organized the process of hospital waste-disposal, segregation, treatment, and collection. 
The Environment(Siting for Industries Projects) Rules
Detailed provisions regarded the locations/areas to be avoided for the setting of Industries as well as the precautions to be considered prior to site selection in addition to the environmental-safeguards to be incorporated. 
The Municipal Solid Wastes( Management and Handling) Rules
Is applicable on every municipal authority for the collection, segregation, storage, transport, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes.
 Ozone Depleting Substances
Regulation of the manufacture and usage of ozone-depleting substances.
The Batteries(Management and Handling Rules)
Ensures safe disposal of abandoned lead-acid batteries entailing all stakeholders.
The Noise Pollution
Consists of the rules and regulations important with regard to the reduction of noise pollution rules.
The Biological Diversity Act

Towards the conservation of biological diversity.

 II. Environmental Law in India Related Forest and Wildlife
Indian Forest Act
Defines forest-related offenses and the acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest and sanctions in the form of penalty to be levied on violation of any provision of the act.
The Wildlife Protection Act
An Act towards the protection of plants and animal species and in furtherance of their sustainability.
The Forest (Conservation) Act
Provides for the conservation of the Forests.
III. Environmental Law In India Related To Water
The Easement Act
Gives personal rights for the usage of the groundwater resource, as it's considered as an auxiliary to the land whereas the State has rights over the Surface water.
The Indian Fisheries Act
Penal Offences for the usage of dynamite or any form of explosives with the intention of catching, poisoning or destroying fish that it may die. 
The River Boards Act
Provides for the state to enroll the Union Govt. As an Advisory river Board to resolve issues in Inter-State coordination.
The Merchant Shipping Act
Regulates on issues of waste produced through ships along the coastal-region within a defined radius. 
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act
Provides for establishing an institutional framework for averting and receding water pollution. 
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) CESS Act
Collection of fees levied on water consumed by industries and local institutions.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) CESS Rules
Defines and indicates the type of and the location of meters that every consumer of water is to affix.
The Coastal Regulation Zone
 Regulations of activities like Notification construction to protect the backwaters and estuaries.
IV. Environmental Law In India Related To Air
The Factories Act
An act first of its kind provides strict guidelines for the working environment of Workers. With the 1987 amendment- more precise and environmentally focused. 
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act
Deals with the aversion and limiting of air pollution authorizing CPAP for its enforcement.
The Atomic Energy Act
Is concerned with the radioactive waste.
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules
Provides for the procedure of Board meetings and the powers conferred on them.
The Motor Vehicles Act
With relation to hazardous waste’s proper packaging, labelling, and transportation. 


It is said that “Earth does not belong to Man but Man belongs to the Earth”. Though Environmental Legislation in India exists, mankind is still continuing to control and exploit earth for its own benefits without even blinking the eye once. Therefore, through this present environmental legislation being in force in India, a collective attempt should be made not only by the citizens but also by the citizens.