Cases of environmental offenses increased in 2020, but there is a catch


The India Crime Report released by the National Crime Records Bureau for 2020 indicates that the number of recorded cases for environmental offenses has increased from the previous year. In 2020, 61,767 such cases were recorded, compared to 34,676 in 2019 and 35,196 in 2018.

Until 2017, offenses against noise pollution laws and the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act were not included in environmental offenses. As of 2017, when both categories started to be counted as environmental offenses, a maximum number of cases in the environmental category have been registered under these laws.

In 2017, the maximum number of offenses (29,659) was under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act. In 2020, 80.5% of environment-related cases fell under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (49,710). This is followed by 7,318 cases (11.8%) under noise pollution laws. A total of 2,287 cases were registered under the Forest Law and the Forest Conservation Law; follow-up to 992 under the Environmental Protection Act; 672 under the Wildlife Protection Act; 589 under the Air and Water Law (Pollution Prevention and Control); and 199 under the National Green Tribunal Act.

Sections of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 include a ban on smoking in a public place, a ban on advertising cigarettes and other tobacco products, and a ban on the sale of such products. to people under the age of 18. how warnings should be issued and penalties for smoking in certain places, as well as advertisements.

Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta pointed out that the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act has very little to do with the environment: “It does not fall under the Department of the Environment or pollution control boards, and it is not an environmental crime. To show more application, business has been included in environmental business. “

Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of cases, 42,756, of which 42,731 were under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act. Rajasthan followed with 9,543 cases (94% of cases fell under the Law on Noise Pollution and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products). The UP has 2,981 cases, including 1,317 under the Forest Act and the Forest Conservation Act – the highest of any state under that law. Fourteen states and two Union territories saw an increase in cases compared to 2019.

Only 8 states and Delhi recorded one case under the Air and Water (Pollution Prevention and Control) Act in 2020. Delhi recorded only one case under the law in 2020, the only one. as of 2016. In 2020, Delhi recorded 23 environmental offenses (16 under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 6 under the Wildlife Protection Act), up from 14 in 2019.

“The dismal record shows when you look at the number of cases filed under the Air and Water Act. Under this law, the Pollution Control Board will have to register a case before a magistrate. There are hardly any cases under this law in most polluted towns, ”Dutta said.

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