The Water (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act,
MSc. Industrial Fisheries
It was a shame on us that we the people of India had to legislate
an act for preventing and controlling pollution of WATER by our
The law of the land can not provide non contaminated Milk to the
children; can not provide non contaminated eatables to the
people of India and not even pure water.
What to talk about enemies of the country who can pollute the
rivers to win scores on us, our own fellow citizens pollute the
rivers which are very essential for life.
Shame on the regulators who for their greed for money let the
enemies of common man of India, to pollute the water of Rivers
Shame on Indian Industrialists and municipalities which
discharge untreated water in the Rivers.
Is this the Indian Culture? We have not prosecuted the offenders
of the acts for polluting our sacred Rivers.
The Water (Prevention and Control of
Pollution) Act, 1974
The need for legislating the act was felt in the year 1962, it was
the same year when Independent India fought its first war with
China. A committee was set up in 1962 to draw a draft
enactment for the prevention of water pollution.
The reason for legislating the act was given as “ The problem of
pollution of rivers and streams has assumed considerable
importance and urgency in recent years as a result of the growth
of industries and the increasing tendency to urbanization”.
The object for legislating the act was given as “ It is, therefore,
essential to ensure that the domestic and industrial effluents are
not allowed to be discharged into the water courses without
adequate treatment as such discharges would render the water
unsuitable as sources of drinking water as well as for supporting
fish life and for use in irrigation. Pollution of rivers and streams
also causes increasing damage to the country‟s economy.”
‘Pollution’ defined in the Act
It means 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. (section 2(e) of the Act)
Legal Corporate Entities
The Act prescribed constitution of two types of Legal
Corporate Entities for proper discharging of the
functions and for exercising the powers under the
One Central Board constituted under section 3 of
State Pollution Control Boards constituted in
respective states under section 4 of the Act.
Scope and applicability of Sec.4
The reading of section 4 clearly shows that is it obligatory on
the State Governments for the proper discharge of function
and exercise of powers under the Act to constitute a Board as
a Legal Corporate Entity consisting of all its components
mentioned in sub section (2) representing various interests
and under sub-section (1) of section 4. A notification in Official
Gazette is required to be issued only for appointing a day with
effect from which such a Board is to function. The powers and
functions that are referred to in the Act at various places are
the powers and functions to be exercised and performed by
such a Board as required to be constituted under sub section
(2). Since the section itself makes such a Board a body
corporate, it only means that all the elements and / or
components of the Board as mentioned in sub-subsection (2)
taken together and not individually would alone constitute a
board as contemplated under the Act.
Constituents of a State Board
A member Chairman : being a person having special knowledge or practical
experience in respect of matters relating to environmental protection or a
person having knowledge and experience in administering institutions
dealing with the matters aforesaid to be nominated by the State
Government. (he may be either whole-time or part-time as the State
The State Government can nominate not more than five of its officials as
members to represent itself in the Board.
The State Government can nominate not more than five persons to be
members of the Board who are members of local authorities functioning
within that state.
The state Government can nominate not more than three persons who are
non officials but who can represent the interest of agriculture, fishery or
trade or industry or any other interest which in its opinion to be represented.
The state Government can nominate two persons from the companies or
corporations owned or controlled by it.
A full time Member Secretary of the Board has to be appointed by the State
Government, who posses qualification, knowledge and experience of
scientific, engineering or management aspects of pollution control.
Meetings of the Board
A board shall meet at least once in every three
months and shall observe such rules of procedure in
regard to the transaction of business at its meeting
as may be prescribed.
Provided that if, in the opinion of the Chairman, any
business of an urgent nature is to be transacted, he
may convene a meeting of the Board at such time
as he thinks fit for the aforesaid purpose.
Powers and Duties of the Member
Secretary of the Board
Member Secretary of a Board is the only member of the
Board who is appointed and not nominated by the State
He is the only one who has to be full time Member of the
He is the only one whose term as a member of the Board is
not fixed for three years. All the other members of the Board
have to vacate the office after their successors enter upon
their office by virtue of their appointment.
The terms and conditions of service of the Member-Secretary
has to be prescribed by the State Government.
The duties and powers of the Member Secretary has to be
prescribed by the State Government or has to be delegated
by the Board or the Chairman of the Board.
Regarding officers and other employees of
State Pollution Control Board may appoint such officers and
employees as it considers necessary for the efficient
performance of its functions but subject to rules made by the
State Pollution Control Board has to make regulations
regarding the method of recruitment, scale of pay and terms
and conditions of service of its officers and other employees
and those regulations has to be approved by the state
State pollution control Board may delegate its power and
functions under this act to its officers though on conditions
and limitations by issuing a special or general order.
State pollution control board may appoint a consulting
engineer on such salaries and allowances while imposing
terms and conditions of service to be rendered to it.
Functions of the State Board
Functions of a State Board has been prescribed in section 17
of the Act as well as of the Air Pollution Act, 1981.
But the state pollution board have confined themselves only to
grant consents to the industries.
After the legislation of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
wherein the Standards for Effluent has been prescribed in the
EP Rules, the Boards merely mentioned those rules in the
conditions of the consent.
More so Boards are issuing consent with the condition “Zero
Discharge” without ensuring whether this condition could be
met or complied by the Industry.
Applicability of Environment Protection
Act and its Rules.
Environment Protection Act prohibits any person to discharge
or permit to be discharged any environmental pollutants in
excess of standards prescribed in schedule 1to VI of the
Environment Protection Rules.
State Boards have to enforce such standards prescribed in
Every person requiring consent under section 25 of the Water
Act has to submit Environment Statement to the State Board
(Rule 14 of the Environment Protection Rules 1986.
State Board can not permit any person to discharge
environment pollutants in contravention of Standards
prescribed in schedule 1 to VI of EP Rules, by issuing
Consent under the Water Act.
Prohibition on use of stream or well for
disposal of polluting matter, etc;
There are prohibitions on the persons against causing or
permitting any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter for entering
whether directly or indirectly into any stream or well or sewer or
on land, above than the standards laid down for the same.
No person shall knowingly cause or permit to enter into any
stream any other matter which may tend, either directly or in
combination with similar matters, 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. [section 24(1)(b)]
The prime object of the Act as declared in the preamble and
embodied in the provisions of Section 24 is to provide for
prevention and control of water pollution and the
maintaining and/or restoring of wholesomeness of water.
Therefore, provisions ar made to prevent direct or indirect
entry into any stream, well or polluting water
Six wholesome principles:
All human beings have the fundamental right to unpolluted
environment, pollution free water and air.
The State is obligated to preserve and protect the
It is mandatory for the State and its agencies, to conceive,
anticipate prevent and attack the cause of environmental
The industry cannot be permitted to continue, as a matter of
right, in case it creates pollution.
The polluter must meet the cost of repairing environment and
ecology and pay reparation to those, who have suffered
because of the pollution, caused by him.
Considerations of economy cannot prevail over concerns for
environment and ecology.
Restrictions on new outlets and new
discharges. (section 25)
Section 25 of the Water Act, prescribes restrictions on new out-lets and new
discharges. It inter alia provides that no person shall, without the previous
consent of the State Board, establish any industry or process which is likely to
discharge sewerage or trade effluent into the stream or well or sewer or on
land. The Consent of the State Board can be obtained by an application made
under section 25(2) of the Water Act, under sub section(4) of sec. 25, the
State Board may grant its consent specifying the validity period, subject to
conditions as it may impose. The State Board may impose conditions
including conditions as to the nature and composition, temperature, volume or
rate of discharge of the effluent from the premises from which the discharge is
to be made.
State Board may refuse consent by giving reasons in writing.
The state boards have also been empowered to issue notices imposing
conditions to those industries and others which have not taken consent from it
under sub section 5 of this section.
It has been mandatory for the State Boards to maintain a register containing
particulars of the conditions imposed on such consents for public inspection
under sub section 6 of this section.
An application of consent after the expiry of four months deemed to be given
unconditionally if it has not been given or refused earlier.
The provisions which make an application for
consent for new outlets as deemed consent has
been prescribed in sub-section 7, and can be
summarized as follows:
a. The application has been filed under sub-section 1
of section 25.
b. The application has not been disposed off by the
state Board within four months of filing the
c. It would be a consent without any condition.
Power of Board to make application to
courts for restraining apprehended
pollution of water in streams or well.
This section gives power to the board to make an application to a
Court not inferior to a Presidency Magistrate or a Magistrate of
the First Class, for restraining a person who was likely to cause
pollution as mentioned in Section 33(i) from so causing it. Non-
compliance with the directions given by the Court under the said
section 33 has been made an offense punishable under Section
41(2) of the Act.
Refusal or withdrawal of consent by State
A State Board may from time to time review any
condition imposed under Section 25 or Section 26 and
may serve on the person to whom a consent under
Section 25 or Section 26 is granted a notice making
any reasonable variation of or revoking any such
A State Board may review the refusal of any consent
referred to in sub-section 1 of section 25 or Section
A State Board may review the „grant of any consent
without any condition‟ (it includes Deemed Consent)
Funds, Accounts and Audit
The Boards constituted under this act will have its own funds and my expend such sums as
those think fit for performing its functions under this Act or Air Act. (Section 37)
The Central Board or as he case may be the State Board shall during each financial year,
prepare in such form and at such time as may be prescribed, a budget in respect of the
financial year next ensuing the estimated receipt and expenditure, and copies thereof shall
be forwarded to the Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government.
The Boards constituted under this act shall have to prepare an annual report giving full
account of their activities to the Central Government in the case of Central Board and to the
State Government in the case of State Board within four months from the last date of the
previous financial year and the Governments have to place them before Both the Houses
of Parliament in the case of Central Government and before the State Legislative within a
period of nine (9) months from the last date of previous financial year. (Section 39)
Every Board shall maintain proper accounts and other relevant records and prepare an
annual statement of accounts in such form as may be prescribed by the Central
Government or as the case may be the State Government. The accounts of the Board shall
be audited by an auditor duly qualified to act as an auditor of companies under section 226
of the Companies Act and the Auditor has to be appointed by the Central Government in
the case of Central Board and by the state Government in the case of State Board.
It will be the responsibility of the Auditor to sent his report along with an audited copy of the
accounts to Central Government or to State Government as the case may be. (Section 40)
Both the governments as the case may be after receiving such audit reports place before
the Both Houses of Parliament or before the State Assembly (Section 40)
Applicability of Indian Penal Code
All Members, Officers and servants of the
Board when acting or purporting to act in
pursuance of any of the provisions of this Act
and the rules made thereunder shall be
deemed to be public servants within the
meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal
Code. (Section 50)
Water Laboratory and Analysts
The Central Government can establish a Central Water Laboratory by
issuing a Notification in the Official Gazette and can make rules
regarding it after consulting the Central Board.
The State Government can establish a State Water Laboratory by
issuing a Notification in the Official Gazette and can make rules
regarding it after consulting the Central Board.
The Central Government or the State Government can appoint Analysts
for the purpose of analyzing the samples.
The Central Board with the approval of Central Government and the
State Board with the approval of State Government can appoint
persons to be Board‟s Analysts through notifications in Official Gazette
for the purpose of analyzing the samples.
Power to supercede the Boards
Central Government has power to supercede
the Central Board under section 61 of the
The State Government has power to
supercede the State Board under section 62
of the Act.
Power to Make Rules
The Central Government has power to make rules
at the time of constituting the Central Board
without consulting it but once the Central Board
has been constituted it can make rules or amend
rules only after consulting the Central Board.
The State Government has power to make rules at
the time of constituting the State Board without
consulting it but once the State Board has been
constituted it can make rules or amend rules only
after consulting the State Board. (Section 64)
Board : an entity
To perform such functions and to issue such orders prescribed in
the Act, a Board has to be constituted by the State Government,
as per the Statutory Provisions.
To expand from its funds, the State Government has to appoint
an auditor as per the provisions of the Act.
It has to prepare its annual activity report to be placed before the
The Auditor appointed by the State Government has to send its
report along with the audited copy of the accounts for laying
before the State Assembly.
For maintaining its account the Board has to appoint such
persons who are experienced and well qualified in the field.
I really thank everyone of you who have given his or
her little time to view this presentation and request
that an immediate action be taken if you are an
authority to do so or must write to Ministry of
Environment and Forests for taking action till it is too
•THE WATER (PREVENTION & CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1974
•THE AIR (PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT,1981