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Centre proposes decriminalisation of certain provisions in Environment Protection Act

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Centre proposes decriminalisation of certain provisions in Environment Protection Act

Recently the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has introduced amendments to make the provisions of Environment Protection Act non-criminal.

The ministry has sought suggestions on a proposal to make the existing provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA) non-criminal.

Proposed Amendments

  • In case of serious violation, proceedings can be continued under the criminal provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In smaller cases, failure or violation or non-compliance can be dealt with by penalties.
  • The amount of fine should be increased to Rs 5 lakh. This can be increased to Rs 5 crore.
  • In cases of continuous contravention even after a period of one year, the fine shall not be less than Rs 50,000 per day. It can also be increased to Rs 5 lakh.
  • The Environment Protection Fund will be constituted under Section 17A of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It will be constituted to pay the penalty imposed by the adjudicating officer for environmental damage.
  • Section 15D will be added to allow persons aggrieved by the decision to appeal to the National Green Tribunal.

The Environment Protection Act, 1986 was enacted under Article-253 of the Constitution of India. It was passed in the year 1972 on the basis of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm to take appropriate steps for the protection and improvement of the human environment.

It has set the framework for long-term environmental security. At the same time, it has also laid down a system for taking prompt and adequate steps against situations threatening the environment.

Source- The Hindu

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