Study Material for UPSC IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations - Environment (Legislations for Environment in India)

Study Material for UPSC IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations - Environment (Legislations for Environment in India)


  • In the wake of the Bhopal tragedy, the government of India enacted the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986. In this Act, main emphasis is given to “Environment”, defined to include water, air and land and the inter-relationships which exist among water, air and land and human beings and other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property. It contains the provision of “Citizens” Suit under which any person, in addition to authorized government officials, may file a complaint with a court alleging an offence under the Act.

Environmental initiatives under the act

1. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), Ministry of water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation

2. Genetic Engineering Approval Committee(GEAC).

  1. It functions under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  2. It is the apex body to accord environmental approval of activities involving large scale use of micro-organisms and recombinants in research and industrial production.
  3. It is also mandated with approving there is ease of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment, including experimental field trials.

3. National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)

4. Declaration of Ganges as the ‘National River’ of India.

5. National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) for enforcement and monitoring of the CRZ Notification.

6. In exercise of the powers under this act, the Central government has constituted Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the National Capital Region.

7. Eco Sensitive Zone is notified under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

8. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has now been made mandatory under the Environmental (Protection Act, 1986 for 29 categories of developmental activities involving investments of Rs. 50crores and above.)

9. Rules framed under the act include

  1. Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules
  2. Plastic Waste (Management & Handling) Rules
  3. E-waste Management and Handling Rules
  4. The Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Trans boundary Movement) Rules
  5. Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) (Amendment) Rules
  6. The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules
  7. The Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous micro-organisms Genetically engineered organisms or cells
  8. Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control)Rules


  • ESZ is created to act as a buffer for further protection around Protected Areas (PAs) such as National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries.
  • ESZ is notified under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.


  • It provides protection to plant, animal as well as bird species.
  • It extends to whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir. It deals with Trade or Commerce in Wild Animals, Animal Articles and Trophies

There are 4 Types of protected areas in Wildlife Protection Act

1. National Park
2. Sanctuary
3. Conservation reserve
4. Community reserve

Six Schedules of Wildlife Protection Act

  • Schedule-I & Part-II of Schedule-II - Absolute Protection; can’t be declared as vermin; highest penalties
  • Schedule III & IV - Protection bt penalties are lower; can be declared are vermin.
  • Schedule-V - Animals which may be hunted
  • Schedule VI - Endemic Plants. These are prohibited from cultivation and planting.
  • There are total 6 plants in Schedule VI 1. Blue Vanda 2. Red Vanda 3. Ladies slipper orchids 4. Pitcher plant 5. Kuth 6. Beddomes’ cycad

Authorities Established under Wild life Protection Act

1. Indian/National Board for WildLife (IBWL/NBWL)

  • It is chaired by the prime minister of India.
  • Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
  • It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries. No alteration of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without the approval of the NBWL.

2. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

  • Constituted under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. It conducts tiger census in India.

3. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

  • It complements the efforts of the state governments, primary enforcers of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and other enforcement agencies of the country.

4. Wildlife Advisory Board

  • Constituted by the state government. It advises state govt in the selection of areas to be declared as Sanctuaries, National Parks, and Closed Areas.

5. Central Zoo Authority

  • It is responsible for oversight of zoos. Every zoo in the country is required to obtain recognition from the Authority. It identifies endangered species for captive breeding in a zoo. It is an affiliate member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

6. Wildlife Institute of India

  • WII is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change (MoEFCC).WII carries out wildlife research in areas of study like Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Wildlife Policy, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Forensics, Spatial Modeling, Eco-development, Habitat Ecology and Climate Change.


  • It has been established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.It has been established for expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • It can award relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. But it is guided by principles of natural justice. The Tribunal is mandated to dispose applications or appeals within 6 months. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal.
  • Bhopal, Pune , Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting.

It adjudicates matters relating to following Acts only -

1. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1974
2. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1974
3. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
4. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
5. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
6. Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Note: It doesn’t have jurisdiction over Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and other acts enacted by the state governments.

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