India: Mandatory Blackout In Industries, If Effluent Treatment Plants ‘Non-Functional'

Last Updated: 3 April 2017
Article by Vikrant Rana and Akshay Gupta

The Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) approached the Apex Court with a writ petition in the nature of mandamus (command) in 2012, seeking action from the Union Government as well as States and Union Territories towards 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.1.

On 22nd February, 2017 Supreme Court passed its judgement in this regard laying down a mandate for industries to have 'functional' primary effluent treatment plant, within three months from the date of passing of judgement. Further the Court also directed the State Governments and the concerned Union territories to set up 'common effluent treatment plants' mandatorily within a period of three years.

Moreover, 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.

The key highlights of the judgment are as below- 'Primary' Effluent Treatment Plant

  • The Supreme Court, based on the affidavits provided by the Pollution Control Boards noted that all running industrial units, which require "consent to operate" from the concerned Pollution Control Board, have a functional primary effluent treatment plant, in place without which the "no objection certificate" and "consent to operate" are not issued. The Supreme Court noted that the question before the Court was whether the effluent treatment plants remained in force after the issue of the "no objection certificate" and "consent to operate". 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, 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.

It is pertinent to note that the State Pollution Control Board has power to issue directions vide Section 31A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981which provides that-

"Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, subject to the provisions of this Act, and to any directions that the Central Government may give in this behalf, a Board may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, issue any directions in writing to any person, officer or authority, and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions.

Explanation.-For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that tile power to issue directions under this section, includes the power to direct-

  1. The closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or
  2. The stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity, water or any other service"

Same power has also been bestowed upon State Pollution Control Board under section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 to extend powers to Board under the said Act.

Accordingly, the State Pollution Control Board has been endowed with wide discretionary powers and authority to ensure compliance of the laws relating to prevention and control of pollution. The Supreme Court has reiterated that State Boards shall make use of these powers to make sure that all industrial units have effluent treatment plant in proper functioning state.

  • 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 to ensure that all industries have a 'functional' effluent treatment plant rather than a treatment plant just for the show 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.

Common Effluent Treatment Plant

  • The Supreme Court directed the State Governments including the Union Territories to set up 'Common effluent treatment plants' within a period of three years from the date of judgment.
  • During the course of hearing, 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.


 1 Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti and another vs. Union of India and Others (WRIT PETITION NO. 375 OF 2012)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Vikrant Rana
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions