Centre introduces new law through ordinance to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR

The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020, released by the law and justice ministry on Thursday, was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.

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The commission will have three sub-committees, one each for monitoring and identification, safeguarding and enforcement, and research and development, it said.
New Delhi: The Centre has brought in a new law through ordinance to set up a commission to tackle the problem of air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), amid Supreme Court hearings on the matter, with provisions of punishing violations of parameters laid down by it with a fine of up to ₹1 crore or a jail term of up to five years or both.

The body, Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, will have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — states which impact the Delhi-NCR air quality. It is likely to replace several pollution related committees including the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).

The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020, released by the law and justice ministry on Thursday, was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.


It comes within days of the Centre telling the Supreme Court during a hearing on a matter related to air pollution that it will bring a new legislation on air quality management in the NCR and adjoining areas.

The 18-member commission, whose members have yet to be selected, will coordinate inter-state and inter-ministerial actions to check air pollution. It will have the power to prohibit activities that are likely to cause or increase air pollution in the NCR and adjoining areas.

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It will also have the power to lay down parameters of air quality and emissions, discharge of pollutants, inspect premises violating the law on the basis of complaints and also to take suo motu cognisance of violations, and order closure of non-abiding industries or plants.

Appeals in cases of non-compliance will lie only with the National Green Tribunal and not any civil court. Provisions of both stringent punishments and appeals are new and stronger measures, aimed at deterrence against violation of pollution norms.

The body is proposed to replace multiple ad hoc committees and task forces set up under the Union environment ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), besides the EPCA set up in 1998 by the Supreme Court.

It will have three sub-committees — on monitoring and identification, safeguarding and enforcement, and research and development — to help address the problem of air pollution.

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The commission will be headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a secretary to the government of India or chief secretary of a state. It will have senior officials from the Union government and stakeholder states, besides experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Indian Space Research Organisation. Experts and stakeholders from civil society are also likely to be co-opted in the body, which will look at strong public engagement to fight air pollution.

The chairperson of the commission will be selected by a committee headed by the Union minister for environment, forest and climate change. It will also have on board the cabinet secretary and ministers for road transport and highways, commerce and industry, and science and tech.
New law creates powerful oversight body to tackle pollution in NCR and adjoining areas
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According to a report by PTI, faced with rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Centre has introduced a new law through an ordinance that puts in place a powerful oversight body and provides for up to five years of jail term and Rs one crore fine for violators with immediate effect. Under the ordinance released by the Ministry of Law and Justice on October 29, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has been dissolved and replaced by a commission comprising over 20 members. The commission may take up matters suo motu or on the basis of complaints, the ordinance said, adding that any appeal against any direction of the panel shall lie only with the National Green Tribunal.

According to a report by PTI, faced with rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Centre has introduced a new law through an ordinance that puts in place a powerful oversight body and provides for up t..
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The commission has been set up under the ordinance, which was signed by the president on October 28, to ensure strict compliance. However, the members are yet to be selected. The commission shall have the power to lay down parameters of air quality, parameters of discharge of environmental pollutants, to inspect premises violating the law, ordering closure of non-abiding industries/plants etc. "The ordinance may be called the Commission for Air Quality Management In National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020. It shall apply to the national capital region and also adjoining areas in so far as it relates to matters concerning air pollution in the NCR. It shall come into force at once,” the ordinance said.

The commission has been set up under the ordinance, which was signed by the president on October 28, to ensure strict compliance. However, the members are yet to be selected. The commission shall hav..
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As per the ordinance, the adjoining areas where it shall be in force include Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, adjoining areas of the NCR and Delhi where any source of pollution is located and is causing adverse impact on air quality in the national capital region. It said that the commission can restrict any industry, operations or processes or class of industries that may have implications on air quality in the region. It said that the orders of the commission shall prevail in case there is a conflict between the central pollution control board and the state pollution control boards.

As per the ordinance, the adjoining areas where it shall be in force include Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, adjoining areas of the NCR and Delhi where any source of pollution is locate..
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Professor S N Tripathi, Member (Steering Committee), National Clean Air Programme, said there was no single body, authority or ministry which was empowered or dedicated to coordinate among states in the national capital region (NCR). "Setting up of the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Area will provide a single entity which can coordinate with these states to tackle the extended airshed," he said. "However, we must add a word of caution that this move will not change things overnight. So don't get euphoric just yet. Changing things on the ground takes time," Prof Tripathi said.

Professor S N Tripathi, Member (Steering Committee), National Clean Air Programme, said there was no single body, authority or ministry which was empowered or dedicated to coordinate among states in ..
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Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta said the main purpose of this Ordinance was to improve the air quality only in the National Capital Region. "Unless the central government sets up similar committees in other polluted regions of the country, it violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and discriminates against those who are not in the NCR," he said.

Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta said the main purpose of this Ordinance was to improve the air quality only in the National Capital Region. "Unless the central government sets up similar committee..
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