Central Government Powers and Functions under Environment Protection Act, 1986

Powers and function of central government under Environment Protection Act, 1986


Indian has various natural resources and Central Govt being the representative of State is a trustee of these resources that is to say, it has to take care of these resources. Besides that, as the population of state is increasing these resources are being more used by State and the people of state to fulfill their needs and earlier there was no control over such use and exploitation of these resources as a result they tend to degrade and deplete. Such behavior of humans of continuously using the natural resources for their self-needs tend to pollute the environment. So, some step should have to be taken to control this pollution and exploitation of resources at international level. In the year 1972, United Nations Conference on Human Environment was organized in Stockholm and as a result in India, Environment Protection Act, 1986 was enacted with a view to protect and improve the environment.

Under Section 2(a) of EPA, 1986, environment is defined which says environment includes- air, water and land and inter-relationship that existed among air, water, land, human-beings, micro-organisms, plants, other living creatures and property.

U/S 2(b)- Environmental pollutant is defined- any gaseous, liquid or solid substance which is present in such concentration as it may or tent to pollute environment.

U/S 2(c)- environmental Pollution- presence of any environmental pollutant in environment.

As stated above, Central Govt. act as a trustee of these resources and is given duty to protect and improve the quality of environment. Section 3 of Environment Protect Act, 1986 provides the powers of Central Govt. since, expressly the functions of Central govt. are not provided therefore, the powers are also construed as the functions which are as following


1. Central Govt, has the “general power” to protect an improve the quality of environment and to take such measures to control, prevent and abate the environmental pollution.

2. Without prejudicing the general powers, it has some principal powers also which are as follows-
A) To co-ordinate with State- Govt., authorities or officers to improve and protect environment and prevent, control and abate environmental pollution
B) To execute a nation-wide program with the purpose of prevention of environment. Pollution. For e.g. Central govt. launched “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to clean India”
C) To lay down standards of quality for environment in various aspects.
D) To lay down standard of emissions and discharge of environmental pollutants in environment.
E) To lay down procedure and safeguards for handling hazardous substance for workers and other persons, occupier and other respective persons.
F) To lay down procedure and safeguards for any accident which might cause environmental pollution and take remedial measure to overcome the accident.
G) To collect and disseminate information regarding matters to environmental pollution
H) To make and prepare codes, legislations, manuals and guide relating to prevent, control and abate environmental pollution
I) To examine any industrial process, equipment or other process Which might cause environmental pollution
J) To recognize or establish any environmental laboratories or institutions and entrust them with such powers and functions as provided under EPA, 1986
K) Examination of such manufacturing process, substances of materials which might cause environmental pollution
L) Carrying out and sponsoring investigation and research relating to problems of environmental pollution
M) Restrict any area in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, so that operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out with certain safeguards.

Under Section 4- Central Govt. has power to appoint officers having prescribed qualifications with such posts and designation as it think fit and entrust them power and function which are important for preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution. However, the officers appointed shall work under the directions and control of Central Govt.

Under Section 10 Central Govt. or person empowered on behalf of Central govt. shall have the right to enter in any property to –
A) Inspect the area to check whether the compliance of any order, notification or rules related to environmental protection is being done or not.
B) To examine any equipment, register, document, process, etc. which might be treated as an evidence if any offence is being committed.

Under Section 12, the Central Govt. has power to-
A) To establish “environmental laboratory or institution”.
B) To recognize any institution or laboratory as “environmental laboratory or institution” and entrust them with such powers as specified in EPA, 1986.
C) To lay down any rule or procedure for such recognized laboratories and institution.

Under Section 13- Central Govt. has power to appoint any person as it deems fit with prescribed qualifications as Government analyst who will analyses the samples water, air and land which are sent for analysis in any environment laboratory.

Author: kashish gupta,
Invertis University, 4th year

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