(a) General Laws:
Indian Penal Code makes various acts affecting environment at offences:
(i) Spreading of infection of any disease dangerous to life;
(ii) Fouling of water of public spring or reservoirs rendering it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used;
(iii) Making atmosphere noxious to health;
(iv) Public Nuisance;
The code of criminal Procedure authorises District Magistrates and SDMs to control and remove all pollution.
(b) Special Laws:
Various special laws have also help in protecting the environment, e.g.. The Factories Act, 1948, the Insecticides Act, 1968, and the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.
After 1972 the Parliament has enacted a number of laws, directly, relating to pollution control and environment protection e.g., the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Wildlife (Protection) (Amendment) Act, 1986 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
In addition to these, several state Govt. have enacted special laws which can be evoked for protecting and improving environment.
(c) The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
This Act has been passed by the Parliament of India to give effect to the decisions taken at the Stockholm Conference in June 1972, relating to the protection and improvement of environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property.
To carry out these functions the Govt. may appoint an authority (ies) or an officer(s) to act on its behalf.
The Govt. may issue any directions under the Act including directions for (i) the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process, or, (ii) stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.
The central Govt. may be rule provide for:
(a) Standards of quality of air, water or soil for various areas and purposes;
(b) Permissible limits of pollutants (including noise) for different areas;
(c) Procedure and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances;
(d) Prohibiting and restricting the handling of hazardous substances in different areas;
(e) Prohibiting and restricting industries in different areas; and
(f) Procedure and safeguards for preventing accidents which may cause environmental pollution and remedial measures thereof.