Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

Written by Chitrarekha Bharadwaj

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Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974


India participated in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972 to take appropriate steps for the preservation of the natural resources of the earth which, among other things, include the preservation of the quality of air and control of air pollution. Based on the concluding guidelines of this conference, the Water Act was formulated by the government of India in 1974.

This is an Act to accommodate the avoidance and control of water contamination and the keeping up or re-establishing of healthiness of water through different administration rules and limitations. The demonstration was brought and consolidated into the Constitution of India in 1974.

One of the prime targets of this demonstration is completing the reasons referenced above by appointing a lot of obligations, powers, and capacities to the Boards for the counteraction and control of water contamination.

The Water Act applies in the main occasion to the entire of the States of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura and West Bengal and the Union regions.

The demonstration was passed in compatibility of statement (1) of article 252 of the Constitution. Goals have been passed by all the Houses of the Legislatures of the States.

According to the Clause (1) of Article 252 of the Indian Constitution, the Parliament has no power to make laws for the States with respect to any of the matters mentioned above, except as provided in articles 249 and 250 of the Constitution. The Parliament can only act on laws once resolutions have been passed by the Houses of the Legislatures of the participating states. The act shall come into force, at once in the States mentioned above and in any other State which adopts this Act under clause (1) of article 252 of the Constitution on the date of such adoption.


There are two main agencies under this Act which work for the proper implementation of provisions of this Act, namely, The Central Pollution Control Board and The State Pollution Control Board.

Under this Act, one Central Board and various State Boards will be delegated by notice in the Official Gazette called Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) individually with impact from a date not later than a half year of the initiation of this Act.

The State Boards will examine, survey, and screen the issues of concern with respect to the quality and contamination of the water assets accessible in their locale and will report the equivalent through quarterly and yearly reports during executive gatherings to the Central Board. The Central Board therefore will investigate the State Board’s reports and furthermore screen and handle significant issues in regards to national water assets.


Section 3 of the said Act explains the composition and Constitution of the Central Board. The Central Government through a notification in the official periodical has the ability to allocate or set up a Central Board named as Central Pollution Control Board. To the extent the synthesis of the board is concerned the Central Board is to contain the accompanying individuals:

1. A chairman who has the knowledge or has practical experience in dealing with cases relating to environmental protection. The chairman is to be appointed by the central government only.

2. Not more than 5 officials to represent the central government.

3.Not more than 5 members to be nominated by the central government from the members of the State Board.

4.Maximum 3 members appointed by the central government to represent the interests of agriculture, fisheries, trade or any other interest as the government may seem fit.

5. Two persons to represent the companies or corporations owned, controlled or by the central government.

6. A full-time member secretary having complete knowledge, experience and qualification of scientific management and prevention of environmental pollution.

Section 16 of the Act explains the functions given to and performed by Central Board. Following are the functions of Central Board-

1. Advises the Central Government- The board can advise the Central government on any issue concerning the control and prevention of water pollution.

2. Co-ordinate with State Board and resolve the disputes among them.

3. It also provide the technical assistance and guidance to State Boards and also carry out investigations and researches in relation to problems of water pollution.

4. Central Board also plans and organise the training of persons who are engaged or to be engaged in programs for the prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.

5. Central Board lays down standard for a stream or well in consultation with the State Government.

6. Central Board is to collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water pollution. It also plants and execute a nationwide program for prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.



Section 4 of the Act explains the composition and Constitution of the State Board. The state government through an official notice in the Gazette has the power to assign or set up a state board named as State Pollution Control Board. The composition of the state board is as follows:

1. A Chairman who either has the knowledge or some experience in dealing with cases relating to environmental pollution.

2. Not more than 5 members appointed by the state government to represent the government.

3. Not more than 2 persons by the state government who are functioning as members of the local authorities within the state.

4. Not more than 3 persons nominated by the state government to represent the interest of fisheries, agriculture, trade and any other interest as the government may seem fit.

5. Two person from companies, corporations which are either controlled, owned or managed by the state.

6. A member secretary who has the knowledge, qualifications, and experience in dealing with cases pertaining to environmental pollution.

Functions of the State Board

Section 17 of the Water Act, 1974 explains the various functions of State Board.

1. The state Board plans a comprehensive program for the prevention, control and abatement of pollution of streams and wells in the State.

2. It performs the advisory functions and advise the State Government.

3. The Board is to collect and disseminate information relating to water pollution.

4. It is to encourage, conduct and participate in investigation and research relating to problems of water pollution. It also organise training programs.

5. The Board is to inspect sewage or trade effluents works and plants for the treatment of sewage and trade effluents or in connection with the great of any consent as required by the Water Act, 1974.


As per Section 19 of the Act, the State board has the ability to limit the Territorial jurisdiction of any request passed by it in issues identifying with prevention and controlling water contamination. This implies the requests passed by the state board will just apply in the zones that are influenced by water contamination. It is up to the State board to figure out which region is to be proclaimed water dirtied and which isn’t, this should be possible by making reference to a guide or making reference to a line of any watershed or the limit of any area.

As indicated by Section 20 of the Act, the state board additionally has the ability to review any land, direct overviews or measure in a region on the off chance that it considers qualified for controlling or forestalling water contamination. It can likewise ask any organization, industry to discard the data relating to the development, establishment, and activity of its foundation. Section 21 of the Act engages the state board or any worker for its sake to investigate any stream or well to forestall and controlling water reason.

The state board likewise has the ability to stop any individual to go into any harmful, toxic or contaminating issue decided as per the measures set down in the Act. As indicated by Section 25, no individual is permitted to set up an industry or start another activity or processor to any treatment of sewage without earlier endorsement of the state board, the state board may concede him a notification of endorsement and simply after that he is qualified for proceed or start another business.

If the person starts another activity before earlier permission of the board, the board may force any conditions as it might consider qualified for not getting notice of endorsement. Section 27 of the Act offers capacity to the State board not to give any notification for setting up an industry or continuation of a current activity. In the event that the organization has been allowed authorization with certain conditions appended, the State board has the ability to survey those conditions which it joined before giving the notification of endorsement.


An understanding might be gone into by the state administration of one state with the state legislature of another state to set up a joint Board. Thus, the Central Government and the administration of other association regions can likewise go into an understanding for comprising a joint board. The joint board for the purpose of this Act are constituted under Section 14 of the said Act.


As per the Section 8 of the Act the 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 meetings as may be prescribed.


As per the Section 28 of the Act, any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the state board made under section 25 to section 227, has 30 days time to make an appeal in the concerned appellate authority as established by the state government. The appellate authority may consist of a single person or three people as the government may think fit.


1. If any person fails to comply with the orders of the board as per sub-section 2 and 3 of Section 20 then in such case on conviction he is punishable for imprisonment for 3 months or fine or both.

2. If any person fails to comply with orders of the board under clause (e) of sub-section 1 of Section 32 Or sub-section 2 of Section 33 then, in such a case, the person would be punishable with imprisonment for 6 months extending to 6 years or a fine or both.

3. Apart from the above-mentioned penalties. Section 42 mentions penalties for other acts namely:

– if any person removes, destroys or pull down any notice which is put up by the board.

– if someone obstructs the member of the board or any other person who is Acting under the board.

– If any person fails to produce any information as required by the member of the board for the performance of his duties.

– or if any person gives any information to the members which he knows to be false under his knowledge.

Then in all the above cases if the person is convicted he would be punishable by imprisonment for a maximum period of 3 months or fine that may extend up to 10,000 rupees or both.


Water contamination is a major issue in India and controlling and forestalling it is another enormous issue, till now we can’t make awareness among the individuals with respect to the significance of preserving water bodies, this Act unquestionably gives different offices that will hope to forestall and control water pollution, the Act sets down different methodology for filing the complaints and the provides the different functions to respective Boards. Anyway more should be done and the Act ought to be made increasingly extensive, more investment ought to be given to local people and disciplines ought to be made stricter so it Acts as a solid discouragement. Over all these more accentuation ought to be given on the execution as just by causing laws you to can not control contamination, appropriate usage is likewise required.


  •  https://www.indiawaterportal.org/sites/indiawaterportal.org/files/e7402_1.pdf
  •  www.envibrary.com
  • www.commonfloor.com
  • www.legislative.gov.in


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