Taking Environmental Law Seriously: An Indian Perspective
Environmental Governance and Excessive Government Control One of the major reasons for the implementation crisis arises from the fact that environmental governance in India is administered by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) and not by an independent regulatory body.
Excessive control of the government over the environmental governance in India leads to the lack of proper implementation of existing environmental laws.
Ineffective Pollution Control Mechanism The existing institutional mechanisms for pollution control, which includes the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB),are devoid of powers to effectively penalizethose involved in water and air pollution.
The present mechanism clearly fails to follow the much accepted ‘polluter pays principle’, which requires the cost of pollution as well as the restoration to be imposed upon the polluter.
Need for an Independent Environmental Regulatory Body A major step towards effective environmental law in India is setting up an independent environmental regulatory body.
The pertinent functions of implementing the environmental impact assessment, pollution control, waste management and eco-system protection have to be placed upon the independent regulatory body for environmental governance.
Need to Step up the Penalty and Liability Mechanism The National Environmental Policy, 2006 clearly identifies and indicates the need to move away from the criminal penalty mechanism existing in the case of environmental legal framework in India and move towards a stringent civil liability mechanism based on polluter pays principle.
The Polluter Pays Principle has been used in pollution control by the Indian judiciary extensively.
Civil liability and pecuniary penalties for environmental pollution following the polluter pays principle should be monitored and enforced by the proposed independent environmental regulatory authority in India.
Focusing upon the Environmental Law Principles Apart from introducing an independent regulator for environment, it is also necessary to emphasize on the need to follow certain framework principles of environmental law.