Published on 05/10/2011
First Update 29/03/2017
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
A Summary by Dr. Yashpal Singh and Vinod Dwivedi
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 is a Central Act of Parliament which provides for the levy and collection of cess on water consumed by industries and local authorities. The act is applicable to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is an act to augment the resources of the State Pollution Control Boards.
Section 2 :
Section 2 of the Act defines:
(a) ‘’Local authorities’’ to mean any municipal corporation or a municipal council or a cantonment board or any other body, entrusted with the duty of supplying water under the law by or under which it is constituted.
(b) ‘’Industry’’ – to include any operation or process, or treatment and disposal system, which consumes water or discharges sewage effluent or trade effluent but does not include any hydel power unit.
The Act provides that the State Pollution Control Boards and Committees shall levy and collect Cess from persons carrying on any industry and from all local authorities for the purposes of and utilization under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act 1974.
The Cess shall be assessed on the basis of water consumed by the person or local authority and would also include supply of water.
It also prescribes for higher rates of cess in the event of the assesse not meeting the standards prescribed under the Environment Protection Act 1986 or with the provisions of Section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974.
If a user liable to pay cess is taking water from another person or authority which is also liable to pay cess, then the end user will pay and the earlier users (suppliers in this instant) shall not be liable to pay.
Provides for the affixing of Meters and prescribes that for measuring the quantity of water, used by any person or any industry or by local authorities, the persons liable to pay cess should install water meters of such standards and at such positions as may be prescribed. If this is not done then the Central Government (presently the duty of the State Boards) shall install the same and recover the costs from the concerned industry or local authority.
Of the Act lays down that every person liable to pay cess shall have to submit cess returns in the proforma and periodicity as prescribed for this purpose. If the said cess return is not submitted then the Assessing authority shall send a notice requiring the person concerned to submit the said returns before such dates as may be prescribed for this purpose.
Under section-6, the authority or the officer to whom the return has been furnished, shall after making enquiry and satisfying himself that the particulars stated in the returns are correct, assess the amount of cess payable by the concerned person or industry or local authority and issue necessary cess assessment orders.
In case the return is not furnished then the assessing authority after making necessary inquiries shall make the necessary assessment orders. All assessment orders shall specify a due date for payment.
Cess shall be collected and remitted to the Central Government. Presently the Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board is the assessing and collecting authority.
Of the Act makes a provision for a rebate of 25% of the cess payable, if the person or authority liable to pay cess installs any plant for the treatment of effluents .
This rebate, however, shall not be given if the person fails to comply with provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 or any of the standards prescribed under the Environment Protection Act. Rebate shall also not be provided if the person or local authority consumes water in excess of the maximum quantity prescribed under the Water Cess Rules.
Under section-9, any officer or authority of the state government, duly empowered on this behalf can enter any premises or any industry at any reasonable time for carrying out the functions as according to this Act including the testing of the correctness of the meters affixed under section-4.
Under section-10, if any person or authority fails to pay the amount of cess to the State Government, within the date specified in the order, then they have to pay an interest of two percent for every month or part of a month on the amount payable by them to the State Government.
Section-11 prescribes that if any person or industry or any local authority fails to pay the cess arrears within the specified time, then a penalty not exceeding the amount of cess in arrears can be imposed on the person, industry or local authority by the assessingauthority after giving proper opportunity to be heard .
Under section-12, any amount due under this act, including any interest or penalty, under section-10 and 11, may be recovered by the Central Government from any person, or industry or any local authority as arrear of land revenue.
Under section-13, any person, industry or local authority, aggrieved by the order of assessment or penalty shall have a right to make an appeal in such form and manner and within such time as may be prescribed (30 days of receipt of order of assessment or penalty; extendable by a maximum of 15 days at the discretion of the Apellate authority).
Whoever furnishes any return knowing or having reason to believe, the same to be false shall be punishable with up to six months imprisonment or fine of 1000 Rs or with both. The same penal provisions apply to persons evading or attempting to evade the payment of cess.