The quality of water is affected by human activities and is declining due to the rise of urbanization, population growth, industrial production, climate change, and other factors. The resulting water pollution is a serious threat to the well-being of water of its rivers. The discharge of oxygen‐demanding substances, toxic wastes, and hot substances, suspended solids and colored wastes into rivers has deteriorated the quality of natural streams and placed economic restrictions on much downstream water uses. Water is a basic need for the survival of human beings and is part of the right to life and human rights as enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution of India.
Water being a state subject the parliament can exercise the power to legislate on water only under articles 249 and 252 of the constitution of India.
The water act represents one of India’s first attempts to deal with an environmental issue comprehensively. The water act was first amended in 1978. It was again amended in 1988 to conform to the provisions of the environment (protection) Act, 1986.
The Supreme court has clarified that prohibition of section 25 extends even to the establishment of the industry or taking of steps for that process. Therefore, before the consent of the pollution control board is obtained, neither can the industry be established nor can any steps be taken to establish it. Thus, the respondent company should have obtained neither the approval of gram panchayat for its plans nor the collector’s approval for the conversion of land use. It should have also not proceeded with the construction work and installation of machinery. Since all the actions were contrary to the provisions of the Water Act, the respondent company could claim no equitable relief. The court also held that the appellate authority under the water act, in this case, erred in holding that the principle of “promissory estoppel” was applicable to this case.
The research for the article is done by Neelesh Sharma and Ridhima Gupta both of whom are studying law at IMS Unison University.