Criminal Cases If You Contaminate The Environment: The Central Government Warns.

The Central Government has warned that criminal cases will be filed against environmental polluters.

The capital Delhi is experiencing a number of difficulties due to poor environmental pollution. Pollution in the air is getting worse day by day.


Farmers from Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, surrounding Delhi, fire the crops after harvest. The reason is that there is an air pollution in Delhi. Construction and construction work in Delhi and the suburbs are the main reason for environmental pollution.

In this case, the Central Government has also warned that environmental pollution can not be altered or that they will be prosecuted under the Environment Protection Act. The government and private organizations have been advised of this.

If the case is filed, those involved will be sentenced to seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs one lakh rupees.

In a move to step up pressure on polluters as Delhi faces its annual winter bad air days, the Centre said on Saturday that criminal prosecution will be launched against violators failing to take action despite warnings and offenders will also be named and shamed on official websites.

Noting poor compliance of its directives to check air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Centre said the names of violators — both private and government entities — will also be put in the public domain.


“It doesn’t matter how big an agency or how influential its official is, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will not hesitate to initiate criminal prosecution against them. We’ll have to do it strictly and religiously,” environment minister Harsh Vardhan said. The move acknowledges the need for action within the Delhi-NCR region apart from efforts to curb outside sources of pollution, like stubble burning.

In Delhi and its neighbouring areas, the agencies involved in infrastructure building are largely government outfits like PWD, Delhi Metro, NHAI, civic bodies and public construction companies. It is large projects that are seen to be big contributors to dust, a major component of the capital’s pollution.

Explaining the norms, Vardhan said an agency will be given two days to act on a complaint. “A warning will be issued or flagged on the third day on the ministry’s Sameer app. If it fails to act in 48 hours after the warning, the CPCB will initiate criminal prosecution,” he said.

All details, including compliance and prosecution, will be uploaded on the “media corner” of the CPCB website and the “Sameer” app (government’s app on the air quality index) so that anyone can access the details. “Show a mirror to the (non-compliant) agencies,” said Vardhan.

Though the existing law empowers CPCB and state pollution control boards to initiate such action, this has rarely been used and subsequently there have been hardly any consequences on the ground.

“We’ll come down heavily on any violator,” environment secretary C K Mishra said, reflecting urgency of the matter when Delhi has been in the grip of “very poor” air quality despite showing improvement in the average level of hazardous particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) as compared to last year.

Asked about the modalities of launching criminal proceedings against government agencies, CPCB chairman S P Singh Parihar said the exact details would be ready by Monday and it would be shared with all the agencies.

Speaking about existing provisions, he said CPCB is empowered under the Environment (Protection) Act and “there is provision under the EP Act which enables the CPCB to file criminal prosecution in cases where the compliance is not as per the direction”. This has happened in district courts and the NGT in the past. Intervening on the issue, the minister said, “Now it will be done more passionately.”

The decisions were taken in a meeting on feedback received from 41 CPCB teams deputed to check air pollution in Delhi and four neighbouring cities in NCR. The minister said it was quite disappointing to know that all five cities — Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad — scored quite poorly on the compliance index (ratio of action taken and reported complaints).

The five cities have together reported nearly 2,600 complaints of different violations in the past month, but compliance was reported in not even 10% of cases. “We cannot just blame stubble burning for Delhi’s woes. We’ll have to look within and focus on compliance. We’ll have to keep the fight on,” said the minister.

The ministry also called a meeting of environment ministers and senior officials of Delhi and NCR states — Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — on November 1 to sensitise them about the decisions.

Current Affairs Home