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‘Minor’ green offences to be decriminalised from April 1 next year | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Decriminalisation provisions of various ‘minorgreen offences, including those relating to prevention of air pollution, under the newly enacted Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023 will come into force from April 1 next year.
Environment ministry recently notified the date for implementation of these provisions which include removal of jail terms for minor offences while either retaining fines in certain cases or increasing in some other cases for non-compliance of select green laws.

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Jan Vishwas law was enacted in August. It has 183 provisions of decriminalisation in 42 central acts administered by 19 ministries. Four of these 42 central acts relate to various green laws including on air pollution, forests and environment protection regulations.
Though decriminalisation provisions of minor offences under Indian Forest Act, 1927 have come into effect from November 15, those under Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and Environment Protection Act, 1986 will be effective from April 1, 2024.
In the case of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981, failure to comply with the provisions for operating industrial plants will attract a penalty up to Rs 15 lakh. Though there will not be a jail term for the offence, if any person (owner of the unit) continues contravention or non-compliance, he/she will be liable to pay an additional penalty every day during which such contravention continues.

Similarly under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, jail term for discharging pollutants has been removed but fines have been increased. It also provides for a penalty for government officials for such contravention if it is committed with his/her knowledge or instructions. Under the Indian Forest Act, imprisonment provision for pasturing cattle in forest land has now been amended by removing “imprisonment and fine”. This contravention will now attract only a fine of Rs 500 without a jail term.


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