Water Pollution is a serious problem in the global world. The world environmental problems include loss of species and biodiversity, toxic chemicals and hazardous waste, ozone depletion, trans boundary air pollution and climate change. It happens when toxic substances enter into water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans and so on, getting dissolved in them which degrades the quality of water. Increasing population, urbanization, environmental degradation, changing agricultural sectors, etc., are some of the factors that are determining the future water demands.

Our Indian Constitution also provide us information about Protection of Environment and Public Health, the Directive Principles of States Policy are committed to Protect and Improvement of the Environment.

In India, there has been a regular upgrading of the law regarding the protection and improvement of the environment. It is very difficult to change the law when environment changes, both law and environment are dynamic in nature. The judiciary in India has created a new environmental jurisprudence.

The society for Protection of Silent Valley (Kerala), Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Team, are the well-known organizations contributing for resolving environmental crisis in India.

Water prevention And Control of pollution Act ,1947

The prime object of this Act is to provide for the prevention of water pollution and cater to the maintenance of the water bodies and carry out activities to promote restoration of water. The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Board have been established by the central and state authorities for promoting the cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the state. Under the Act mentioned above, the board has the power to encourage and conduct research and investigation with a view of promoting, the prevention of contamination of water in a significant manner.

Gujarat Water Pollution Control v/s Kohinoor Dyeing and Printing: (29 April, 1993)

The Gujarat Water Pollution Control Board, Surat is a statutory body established under the provisions of Section 4 of the Water Prevention & Control of Pollution Act, 1974 for the purpose of prevention and control of water pollution and maintaining and restoring the wholesomeness of water. Surat which is very well known for manufacturing of Cotton Textile, Textile Printing, Textile Dyeing ,etc, the Water Pollution control board find the respondents units contravening provisions of Sections 25 and 26 of the Act, In all these complaints, it is commonly alleged that the management of the defaulting units ran by the respondents, discharge large quantity of effluent water, polluting the river “Modhiba” without being treated through the drains of the Corporation, Thereafter, respective decision given by the learned Magistrate by an Order dated 12-8-1987 confirmed the temporary relief granted earlier and ordered to continue the same till final disposal of the criminal cases.

Judiciary remedies for Water Pollution

The Judiciary of India has made several acts on preventing water pollution like as, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 established for an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution.

The Indian Penal Code and Pollution

Section 277 of the Code provides for the punishment to be given to the person who commits an offence of fouling of a public reservoir or a public spring voluntarily shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of three months or with a fine of 500 Rupees or with both.

Law for the People regarding Prevention of Water Pollution:

The Judiciary of India should also prepare some rules and regulations for the common people regarding the prevention of water pollution like as using of plastic bags should be prohibited, dont throw anything on a river, lakes and so on. The Judiciary should also make a board committee in all over the country which regulates and control the water prevention of country, the board committee can make a penalty/ fine chart for the people who pollute the water. The Water Prevention Board Committee should also establish a unit on the banks of the rivers, lakes, etc for prevention. Water should be supply to all the people as per need, because it reduces the amount of contaminated water that needs treatment.

Law for the Government regarding Prevention of Water Pollution:

The Judiciary should also prepare a law for a government to make a good management system at a time of Fair, for which government, water prevention board authority should ensure the cleanliness of the river, lakes.

M.C. Mehta v. Union of India & ors., [1987] 4 S.C.C. 463

Several Industries and business are set-up near the bank of the river Ganga, in which they dissolve waste material. The court has taken a action on Municipal Bodies and Industries for Preventing of the River Ganga. Accordingly, the Court took up for consideration this case against the Kanpur Nagar Mahapalika for the maintenance of cleanliness of the Rivers, Dams, etc. Several another Provisions also made for establishment of Boards for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution.

Narmada Bachao Andolan vs Union Of India And Ors [2000] 10 SCC 664 on (15 March, 2005)

Sardar Sarovar Dam is one of the ambitious multi-purpose projects constructed on the bank of river Narmada for producing 1450 MW of Power/Supply water for irrigation and drinking purpose in the state of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. But due to construction of this dam large number of resident houses, localities are affected. Non-Governmental Organizations has been in the forefront of the agitation against the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam filled a writ petition before this court raising several issues including relief and rehabilitation.
This case has risen-up because the government does not provide rehabilitation facilities and also cash compensation to the outstees.
A three-Judge Bench of this court by a judgment and order dated 18.10.2000 in Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India and Ors., [2000] 10 SCC 664 states that displacement of the tribals and other persons would not per se result in violation of their fundamental or other rights; on their rehabilitation at new locations they would be better off than what they were; at the rehabilitation sites they will have more and better amenities than those they enjoyed in their tribal hamlets; and the gradual assimilation in the mainstream of the society would lead to betterment and progress.

Rules and Regulations for Setting-up Industry:

Waste water from manufacturing or chemical processes in industries contributes to water pollution. Industrial waste water usually contains specific and readily identifiable chemical compounds. The Judiciary should upgrade their laws regarding Industry, there should be a proper water restoration system in all industry, the government should also inspect the industry for preventing of water, the Indian government should also draft a law for a waste material.

Laws for the using of Pesticides and Fertilizers:

In India, the farmers are using pesticides, fertilizers for a good irrigation, but using of fertilizers and pesticides extremely should damage our eco system, which pollute our river, lakes, ponds etc. The Judiciary should also work on this for making a draft on a using of Pesticides and Fertilizers.

Steps to be taken by Indian Government for Prevention of Water Pollution

Some of the great initiative steps taken by Indian Government for preventing water pollution like as, preparing a plan for a sewage management for protection aquatic life, monitoring through internet for assessing the water quality, installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plant for cluster of Small-Scale Industry units.

Promoting environmental sustainability

Sustainable development in any society is an access to initiate a good standard of living for the populace. It aims at providing solutions to the economic, environmental, and societal challenges without posing a threat to human and environmental future development, that is, we must consider the future as we make present decisions. Also, these include social progress and equality, environmental protection, conservation of natural resources, and stable economic growth.

Effects and challenges

Water is an essential and general need of life with an undeniable effect directly or indirectly. All industrial, environmental, and metabolic processes are water dependent. In living organisms, water plays a number of roles such as solvent, temperature buffer, metabolite, living environment, and lubricants. Water, however, is said to be polluted when some of the water quality parameters have been hampered by unguided and irregularities from several anthropogenic activities, thus rendering water unfit for intended use.


Thus, after analysing the above-mentioned cases, we find that the Supreme Court currently extends the various legal provisions relating to the protection of the environment. In this way, the justice system tries to fill in the gaps when there is a lack of legislation. These new innovations and developments in India through judicial activism open the many approaches to helping the country. In India, courts are extremely aware and cautious about the particular nature of environmental rights, as the loss of natural resources cannot be renewed. There are recommendations that need to be considered.


Ritik Agarwal (Institute of Law, Jiwaji University)