Applicability of Polluter Pays Principle to Curb Water Pollution: An Indian Outlook

IJEP 43(7): 653-660 : Vol. 43 Issue. 7 (July 2023)

Rakesh Mondal and Pritam Banerjee*

University of Burdwan, Department of Law, Burdwan, West Bengal – 713 104, India


Pollution is one of the biggest concerns of modern civilization and India is not an exception. In recent decades, the polluter pays principle (PPP) is one of the most useful principles in order to curb the problem of pollution. The very essence of the PPP emerged first time in the Stockholm Declaration, 1972 and the theory was more developed in the Rio Declaration, 1992. Under Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration, it has been clearly stated that polluters should bear the cost of pollution. This principle has been implanted in Indian soil by the judiciary in various landmark judgments, the judiciary directs to pay the cost of pollution as damages. Although the Indian judiciary has played an activist role to enforce the PPP, existing legislations are not well equipped to compel the polluter to pay the damages for environmental degradation. To go one step further, the Indian legal system does not prescribe any exemplary cost from those industries which have potential to cause environmental damage. This paper focused on the applicability of PPP under the Indian legal regime and its utilities. Further, the paper addresses the problem and causes of water pollution in India and probable solutions to these problems. Moreover, it recommends affirmative actions and changes in the existing legal regime to execute the PPP as far as possible and practicable. The researchers emphasize charging exemplary costs from these industries which have potential to cause environmental degradation at time of its establishment.


Polluter pays principle, Sustainable development, Exemplary cost, Untreated effluents


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