Environment-related offences recorded 78% increase in 2020

Tamil Nadu has the country’s highest number of environment-related crimes

By Richard Mahapatra
Published: Wednesday 15 September 2021
Photo: Ashis Senapati

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)’s latest report has shown that India’s overall crime cases increased by 28 per cent in 2020, in comparison to the previous year. But cases under the ‘environment-related offences’ category increased by 78.1 per cent in the country in 2020.

This is one of the highest increases in cases in various crime categories, excluding the offences related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) regulations and norms in 2020.

Environment-related offences include violations of the Forest Act, the Forest Conservation Act, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, The Environmental (Protection) Act, the Air & the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, Noise Pollution Acts and the National Green Tribunal Act.   

Under the environment crime category, India, as a whole, reported 61,767 cases in 2020. This was an increase of 78.1 per cent, in comparison to cases in 2019. This excluded 7,154 cases pending since 2019.

Tamil Nadu reported the country’s highest number of environment-related crimes. In 2020, the state registered 42,756 cases, which was more than three times the number of cases registered in 2019.

Rajasthan came second among the states, with 9,543 cases registered in 2020; in 2019, this number was 10,782 cases. Uttar Pradesh (UP) came third with 2,981 cases in 2020. In 2019, the state registered 1,882 cases.

Four-fifths of the environment-related crimes were registered under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act. There were 49,710 cases of violations of this law, or 80.5 per cent of total environment-related cases in 2020.

Violations of noise pollution control laws of both the Union and state governments formed the second-highest number of environment-related cases. These violations accounted for 11.8 per cent of the total cases.

There were 2,287 cases filed under the Forest Act and the Forest Conservation Act. UP reported the highest number of cases — 1, 317 — in the country under this law.

Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, there were 672 cases, with UP having the highest number (185) of cases, followed by Rajasthan with 151 cases. Under the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, the country reported 992 cases, with UP again having the highest number of cases at 841.

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