India -- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (selected sections)

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (selected provisions)

2. Definitions.-

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires. -

(dd) "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;

(e) "pollution" 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;

(f) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act by the Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government;

(g) "sewage effluent" means effluent from any sewerage system or sewage disposal works and includes sullage from open drains;

(gg) "sewer" means any conduit pipe or channel, open or closed, carrying sewage or trade effluent;

(j) "stream" includes - (i) river; (ii) water course (whether flowing or for the time being dry); (iii) inland water (whether natural or artificial); (iv) sub-terranean waters; (v) sea or tidal waters to such extent or, as the case may be, to such point as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;

(k) "trade effluent" includes any liquid, gaseous or solid substance which is discharged from any premises used for carrying on any industry; operation or process or treatment and disposal system other than domestic sewage. ….

24. Prohibition on use of stream or well for disposal of polluting matter. -

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, -

(a) no person shall knowingly cause or permit any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter determined in accordance with such standards as may be laid down by the State Board to enter (whether directly or indirectly) into any stream or well or sewer or on land; or

(b) 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 consequence.

(2) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under sub-section (1), by reason only of having done or caused to be done any of the following acts, namely :-

(a) constructing, improving or maintaining in or across or on the bank or bed of any stream any building, bridge, weir, dam, sluice, dock, pier, drain or sewer or other permanent works which he has a right to construct, improve or maintain;

(b) depositing any materials on the bank or in the bed of any stream for the purpose of reclaiming land or for supporting, repairing or protecting the bank or bed of such stream provided such materials are not capable of polluting such stream;

(c) putting into any stream any sand or gravel or other natural deposit which has flowed from or been deposited by the current of such stream;

(d) causing or permitting, with the consent of the State Board, the deposit accumulated in a well, pond or reservoir to enter into any stream.

(3) The State Government may, after consultation with, or on the recommendation of, the State Board, exempt, by notification in the Official Gazette, any person from the operation of sub-section (1) subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the notification and any condition so specified may by a like notification be altered, varied or amended.

25. Restrictions on new outlets and new discharges. -

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, no person shall, without the previous consent of the State Board, -

(a) 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 (such discharge being hereafter in this section referred to as discharge of sewage); or (b) bring into use any new or altered outlet for the discharge of sewage; or (c) being to make any new discharge of sewage :

Provided that a person in the process of taking any steps to establish any industry, operation or process immediately before the commencement of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act, 1988, for which no consent was necessary prior to such commencement, may continue to do so for a period of three months from such commencement or, if he has made an application for such consent, within the said period of three months, till the disposal of such application. …

(5) Where, without the consent of the State Board, any industry, operation or process, or any treatment and disposal system or any extension or addition thereto, is established, or any steps for such establishment have been taken or a new or altered outlet is brought into use for the discharge of sewage or a new discharge of sewage is made, the State Board may serve on the person who has established or taken steps to establish any industry, operation or process, or any treatment and disposal system or any extension or addition thereto, or using the outlet, or making the discharge, as the case may be, notice imposing any such conditions as it might have imposed on an application for its consent in respect of such establishment, such other or discharge.

(6) Every State Board shall maintain a register containing particulars of the conditions imposed under this section and so much of the register as relates to any outlet, or to any effluent, from any land or premises shall be open to inspection at all reasonable hours by any person interested in or affected by such outlet, land or premises, as the case may be, or by any person authorised by him in this behalf and the conditions so contained in such register shall be conclusive proof that the consent was granted subject to such conditions.

(7) The consent referred to in sub-section (1) shall, unless given or refused earlier be deemed to have been given unconditionally on the expiry of period of four months of the making of an application in this behalf complete in all respects to the State Board.

26. Provisions regarding existing discharge of sewage or trade effluent. -

Where immediately before the commencement of this Act any person was discharging any sewage or trade effluent into a stream or well or sewer or on land the provisions of section 25 shall, so far as may apply in relation to such person as they apply in relation to the person referred to in that section subject to the modification that the application for consent to be made under sub-section (2) of that section shall be made on or before such date as may be specified by the State Government by notification in this behalf in the Official Gazette. …

43. Penalty for contravention of provisions of section 24. -

Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 24 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.

44. Penalty for contravention of section 25 or section 26. -

Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 25 or section 26 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. …

47. Offences by companies. -

(1) 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 offences and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly :

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act if the proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation : For the purposes of this section -

(a) "company" means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and

(b) "director" in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm.

48. Offences by government departments. -

Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of Government, the Head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly :

Provided that nothing contained in this section shall render such Head of the Department liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.