Supreme Court lays down a Mandate for Industries to have ‘Functional’ Primary Effluent Treatment Plant

Apr 04, 2017 | by TeamLease RegTech Legal Research Team

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General Compliance

Supreme Court in Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti and another V/s Union of India & others has laid down a mandate for Industries to have ‘functional’ primary effluent treatment plant within 3 months from the date of passing of Judgment.

Summary of the Jugement:

The Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) filed a writ petition in supreme court for direction and further action from the Union Government as well as States and Union Territories towards the prevention of pollution by ensuring that no industry that requires a “consent to operate” from a Pollution Control Board, would be permitted to function, unless it had a functional effluent treatment plant, capable of meeting the prescribed norms for removing the pollutants from the effluent, before it is discharged.

To ensure the implementation of these orders, the concerned State Governments/ Union Territories were directed to make provision for setting up an “online, real time, continuous monitoring system” to display emission levels on the portal of the concerned State Pollution Control Board.

Key highlights of the Judgment are as below:

Directions to State Pollution Control Board for granting Consent to operate for ‘Primary’ Effluent Treatment Plant:

§  The Supreme Court directed the concerned State’s Pollution Control Board to issue notice to all industries through a common advertisement, to make their primary effluent treatment plant fully operational within 3 months duration in case they want to obtain a ‘consent to operate’ from the concerned Pollution Control Board.

§  After the expiry of the said notice period, the concerned State Pollution Control Board(s) are required to carry out inspections in the industries to verify the establishment of ‘functional’ treatment plant.

§  After the inspection, if it is found that any industry is not able to comply with the orders; such industry shall be restrained from any further industrial activity.

§  For the implementation of the restraining orders, the Supreme Court guided the State Pollution Control Boards to co-ordinate with the concerned electrical supply and distribution agency/company, and further disconnecting the electricity supply to the defaulting industry.

§  The defaulting industry will be then required to make fresh application for obtaining permission to operate from the Pollution Control Board, only after making the primary effluent treatment plant ‘operational.

This direction is given to ensure that all industries have a ‘functional’ effluent treatment plant rather than a treatment plant just for the show so as to obtain permission from the concerned Pollution Control Board. Industries now need to have mandatory fully-functional effluent treatment plant before they seek any permission to operate.

Directions to State Government/ Union Territory to set up a Common Effluent Treatment Plant:

·         The Supreme Court directed the State Governments and the Union Territories to set up ‘Common effluent treatment plants’ within a period of three years from the date of judgment.

·         The running of operational ‘common effluent treatment plants’ was also raised as matter of serious concern as some of the common effluent treatment plants were dis-functional, because of lack of finances.

·         The Supreme Court observed that local authorities cannot shy away from their responsibilities vested upon them by the Constitution of India, contending lack of financial resources and hence norms should be evolved and finalized on or before 31st March, 2017, for the purpose of generating finances to install and run all ‘common effluent treatment plants’. The Court noted that Article 243X and Article 243Y provides power to municipalities to levy taxes for any concerned cause and hence provide a remedy towards financial constraints. Hence, the Municipalities and other local authorities cannot shy away from the obligation contending financial constraints.

[W.P.(C) NO. 375/2012]




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