In this article we cover the constitution of central and state boards and
also the powers and functions of both the boards under The Water (Prevention
And Control Of Pollution) Act, 1974
Constitution Of Central Board
According to Section-3, the Central Board shall consist of the following
- A full time Chairman (to be nominated by the Central Government) having
knowledge or practical experience in matters related to environmental
protection or having knowledge and experience in administration of
institutions dealing with aforesaid matters.
- Not more than five officials nominated by the Central Government.
- Not more than five persons nominated by the Central Government from
amongst the members of State Boards.
- Not more than three non-officials nominated by the government to
represent interests of agriculture, fishery, agriculture-trade etc.
- Two persons nominated by the government to represent the companies or
corporations owned by the Central Government.
- One full time Member-Secretary (to be appointed by the Central Govt.)
having knowledge and experience of scientific engineering or management
aspects of pollution control.
Constitution Of State Boards
Under Section-4, of the State Pollution Control Board may be constituted having
the same constitution as the Central Board.
Constitution Of Committees
According to Section-9, a board may constitute as many committees as necessary.
The members of a committee shall be paid such fees and allowances for attending
to any other work of the Board.
Constitution Of Joint Boards
According to Section-13 of the Act, under agreement between two or more
contiguous States, Joint Boards may be constituted for those states, by the
Central or State Governments.
Terms And Service Conditions Of The Members Of The Board
- Terms and service conditions of the Member Secretary and Chairman shall
be as prescribed by the Government.
- Rest of the members shall hold office for a term of three years.
- A member shall be eligible for renomination.
- Central or State Government may remove a member of the Central or State
Board at any time by giving him reasonable notice and opportunity.
- The Chairman may resign by addressing his resignation to the government
and a member may resign by addressing his resignation to the Chairman.
- In the case of insolvency, unsound mind, conviction for the offence
under this Act, conviction for the offence involving moral turpitude,
inability to attend three consecutive meetings, abusing position as member
of the Board, Partnership with anybody dealing with sewage or trade effluent
etc., are some conditions for disqualification of the member. Seat of the
disqualified member shall fall vacant and a person nominated to fill such a
vacancy shall hold office for the remaining term.
Meeting Of The Boards
According to Section-8, at least one meeting must be held in every three months.
Functions Of The Central Board
According to Section-16, the following are the functions of the Central Board:
- To promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the
- To advise the Central Govt, on matters concerning the prevention and
control of water pollution.
- To co-ordinate the actions of the State Board and resolve disputes among
- To provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards to
carry out research in prevention and control of water pollution problems.
- To organize training of persons engaged in pollution control.
- To organise comprehensive programme for pollution control through mass
- To lay down standards for streams or wells.
- To prepare manuals, codes or guides for treatment and disposal of sewage
and trade effluents.
- To establish or recognise laboratories for analysis of water samples
from any stream, well or trade effluents.
Functions Of The State Board
According to Section-17, the following are the functions of the State Board:
- Planning a comprehensive programme for prevention, control and
abatement of pollution of streams and wells.
- Advising the State Government regarding water pollution control or
location of industries.
- Conducting and encouraging investigations and research relating to
different aspects of water pollution.
- To collaborate with the Central Board for training personnel for
handling water pollution programmes and organising related mass education
- Inspecting trade effluents and waste water treatment plants.
- Prescribing effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents.
- Evolving economical and reliable methods of disposal, treatment and
reuse of waste water (in agriculture).
- Laying down the standards of treatment of sewage and trade effluents to
be discharged into any stream.
- Making, varying or revoking any order for preservation or control of
discharge of waste into streams and wells or construction of systems for
disposal of effluents.
- Establishing or recognising laboratories for analysis of samples.
- Performing such functions as may be entrusted by Central Board or State
According to Section-18, the Central Board shall be bound by directions given by
the Central Govt, whereas the State Board shall be bound by directions given by
the Central Board or the State Government.
In case a grave emergency arises as a result of non-compliance of the State Govt,
as regards directions given by the Central Board, then the Central Govt, may
recover the expenses incurred by it from the persons concerned, as arrears of
Powers Of The State Government
According to Section-19, the following are the powers of state government:
- Power to obtain information
According to Section-20, the State Board may make surveys, take measurements
or obtain information for purpose of performing functions under this Act.
Failure to comply with any directions under the Section is a punishable
offence under subsection (1) of Section-41.
- Power to take samples
Under Section-21(1) A, the State Government has the power to take samples of
water of any stream or well or any effluent being discharged into such a
stream or well, for analysis. Under Section-22(4), the State Board further
has the power to obtain a report of the result of the analysis by a
- Power of entry and inspection
According to Section-23, the State Board is empowered by the State Govt.,
with the right to enter any place for the purpose of performing any of the
functions entrusted to it.
- Power of Prohibition on Disposal of Polluting Matter into a Stream or
- No person shall knowingly allow entry of any poisonous, noxious or
polluting matter directly or indirectly into any stream, well or sewer or on
- No person shall knowingly allow entry of any matter into any stream,
which may impede the proper flow of water resulting in substantial
aggravation of pollution.
- No person shall establish any industry, operation or process or any
treatment disposal system, which is likely to discharge any sewage or
effluent into stream or well or on land.
- No person shall use any new outlet for discharge of sewage.
- No person shall begin to make any new discharge of sewage.
Consent of The State Board
- Board must decide an application for consent within four months failing
which consent will be deemed to have been given.
- Persons already discharging any sewage or effluent into any stream or
well or on land will have to seek the consent of the State Board.
- A person may appeal against the order of the State Board within 30 days,
to an appellate authority established by the State Government. The State
Govt, can alter the decision of the State Board, if necessary.
- While giving consent, if any work is required to be executed and the
applicant fails to do so, the Board may itself execute it and recover the
expenses along with interest.
- The State Board must be informed in case due to an accident in any
industry or treatment or disposal system, any polluting matter is likely to
be discharged into any stream, well or on land which in turn may pollute
water. The Board may take remedial measures wherever necessary.
- The Board may approach a court for restraining a person who is likely to
cause pollution by disposal discharge of polluting matter into a stream,
well or on land.
The person concerned may be directed by the court to remove the polluting matter
and in case of non-compliance, the court may authorise the board to do the
needful and the expenses incurred by the Board may be recovered from the person