Publish Date: November 23, 2020

    The proposed amendments provide for effective deterrent penal provisions and the concept of monetary penalty for violation and contraventions and ensuring compliance with environmental norms. The amount collected as the penalty could be used for remediation and reclamation of polluted sites and improvement of the environment.

    • In hard line with violators, on Friday the environment ministry proposed stiff penalties for substantial environment damage, a minimum fine of 5 crore in a radius of 5-10km radius counting from outer perimeter of a project, extending to Rs.10 crore and in the case of continuing damage, entail an addition of Rs.50 lakh per day and imprisonment of seven years.
    • In cases where the damage goes beyond a 10 km radius from the project site,15 crores, counting with Rs.75 lakh per day if substantial environmental damage. The fine can go up toRs.20 crore and the imprisonment can even extend to a life term in case of serious violations.
    • The fine for a minor violation is in the range of1,000-10,000, with an additional penalty of Rs.5,000 for every day that the violation continues after its detection. A minor violation is an act of omission or commission by a person causing environmental damage due to the failure of compliance with green laws.
    • Any violation which can neither be termed minor nor substantial will be construed as non-substantial damage. In the case of non-substantial damage, the violator will have to cough up1 lakh, extendable to Rs.5 crore, and pay an additional penalty of Rs.1 lakh per day of continued damage.

    The draft defines substantial damage to the environment caused by direct violation and omission of statutory environmental laws resulting in adversely affecting the environment. The factors taken into account for deciding on penalties are the repetitive nature of the damage, the quantum of damage caused unfair advantage, disproportionate gain, and counting the extent of injury caused to the ecosystem including public, living organism or to property and health.