Ministry moves to change environment protection law: Fine, no imprisonment
- The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change proposed to decriminalise the existing provisions of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986.
Amendments proposed in the Act
- Replace imprisonment with monetary penalty for the “less severe” contraventions under the EPA, which will also be decriminalised.
- Serious violations leading to grievous injury or loss of life shall be covered under the provision of Indian Penal Code.
- Creation of an “Environmental Protection Fund’’ in which the amount of penalty will be remitted.
About Environment Protection Act, 1986:
- Enacted under Article 253 of the Constitution, the Environment Protection Act, 1986 provides for the protection and improvement of the environment.
- Article 253 empowers the Parliament to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body.
- It was enacted to implement the decisions made at the Stockholm Conference.
- The Act establishes the framework for studying, planning and implementing long-term requirements of environmental safety.
- It lays down a system of speedy and adequate response to situations threatening the environment.
- It is an umbrella legislation designed to provide a framework for the coordination of central and state authorities established under the Water Act, 1974 and the Air Act, 1981.
- The term "environment" is understood in a very wide term under section 2(a) of the Environment Act.
- It includes water, air and land as well as the interrelationship which exists between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property.