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How To Reply On Notices Received From Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)


An Overview of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Notices

The environment protection act of 1986 empowers the central government to give directions to any person, officer or authority concerning the environmental laws as prescribed. The Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Government of India delegated these powers to the Central Pollution Control Board, popularly known and commonly abbreviated as CPCB. This authority serves notices if an entity is not operating under the prescribed environmental laws or flouting the previously issued directions to them. If, in any unfortunate case, you ever received this notice or direction for non-compliance with the regulations then you need to take corrective measures and you should carefully reply to such notice.

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Functions & Powers of CPCB

The Air Act, Water Act and Environment Protection Act describe the power, function and duties of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Some of the major functions of this board are as follows-

  • To advise the central government on matters concerning the prevention and control of pollution
  • Coordinate the activities with State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and resolve disputes among them
  • Provide assistance and guidance to the SPCBs
  • Provide training to the persons engaged in the prevention and control of pollution
  • Organise nationwide programs relating to the prevention and control of pollution through mass media
  • Perform functions of SPCB in case of exigencies
  • Establish laboratories for research and analysis purposes
  • Disseminate technical and statistical data relating to the pollution
  • Lay down standards as necessary for the prevention and control of pollution

Jurisdiction of CPCB to Serve Notices

The Central Pollution Control Board monitors the activities relating to pollution and its prevention or control at the national level. It monitors the SPCBs and their jurisdictions as well. Apart from monitoring these activities, it also resolves the disputes between them. It issues the standard operating procedure for several activities like the SOP for the inspection of an industry is published on its web portal and forwarded to all SPCBs in the country. Such procedures are binding on all state boards and other authorities working towards the prevention and control of pollution. It may issue notices, directions or orders to any person, authority or industry across the country to ensure that it takes appropriate measures for the prevention and control of different kinds of pollution.

Understand the CPCB Notice

The first thing you should do after receiving the notice is to read it carefully. And you may need to understand its format to properly grasp the contents of this notice served by the Central Pollution Control Board. The notice comprises various sections like the name and address of the recipient, subject, references, main body and signature. CPCB addresses the entity to which the notice relates and writes the appropriate subject based on the nature of the notice. Then it refers to any previous communications that took place between the parties and the statutes that empower CPCB to take the action in question. After this, in the main body, it writes the actual content of the notice. It includes the direction, decision, or order of the CPCB and the deadline by which the recipient should submit a reply to this notice.

Notices Given by CPCB

CPCB gives notice to the entities not adhering to the prescribed environmental rules or previously given directions. Some of the major causes that result in a notice from CPCB are as follows-

  • Suo Moto Cognizance: If any industry is causing pollution or operating without registration and it is very important to take action then CPCB can take suo moto cognizance and issue a notice to such industry or appropriate authority to take action against it.
  • Complaint to NGT: The CPCB can take a matter to National Green Tribunal if the industry does not comply with the pollution standards or operate without required certification. But before complaining to the NGT the CPCB issues a show cause notice to the Industry and asks why the matter should not be taken to the tribunal.
  • Flouting the Directions: If a notice was served to the industry before but it did not submit any reply or took the corrective measures as prescribed then also the CPCB can issue a show cause notice to ask why the industry should not be closed.
  • Non-Compliance with the Conditions: There may be cases where the CPCB revoked directions given to the industry by SPCB or CPCB on some conditions. In such case, if the industry fails to comply with the conditions as prescribed in the revocation of directions notice then another show cause notice can be issued against the industry.
  • Notice to SPCB: The CPCB is empowered to give directions to SPCB or any other pollution control authority in the country. They are bound to act on such directions and if fail then the CPCB can issue a show cause notice to SPCB or any other authority.

Things To Keep In Mind When A Notice Is Received

When you receive a notice make sure to read it carefully and extract all the information that is relevant to you. You can look at the last two paragraphs of the notice. It contains the main question which you need to answer in reply and the deadline to submit such a reply. Based on the directions given to you, you should act on that and fulfil any compliance requirements, registration, authorisation or licence if you are lacking. Make sure to submit the reply by the deadline otherwise, stricter action may be taken against you.

Write a Reply to Notice Served by CPCB

The directions given in the notice may be different. Some possible scenarios are as follows-

  • To reply with some requisite details or documents or
  • To take the prescribed steps or
  • To abstain from doing something.

First Scenario - Submission

If the CPCB has asked you to submit some details which they may need to verify the legitimacy of your industry then at the earliest you should furnish such details. In case the documents are not available, you should obtain such documents by making an appropriate application. If the delay is unreasonable then inform the CPCB with a letter physically or an email online about such delay. You should justify the delay and convince them that you need to extend the deadline.

Second Scenario - Action

If the CPCB has asked you to take the prescribed steps and act upon the notice then you must adhere to the notice and complete the compliances such as EPR Authorization, Certificate, or registration wherever you are lacking. It may be related to any process taking place in your unit or the machinery you need to set up or changes you need to make in the plant. You should perform such required tasks at the earliest and if it takes longer intimate the CPCB about the progress and try to extend the deadline accordingly. The communications may be made offline, or online through e-mail.

Third Scenario - Abstention

The CPCB may also ask you to abstain from doing any act that is harming the environment in any manner. On receiving such notice you should stop such activity and take the corrective measures. Until the corrections are implemented or an alternative way is found, you should stop operating the plant. These abstaining activities may include the discharge of sewage in an unwarranted manner, emissions above the standard limit etc. You should intimate such seizure and other implementations to the CPCB online through email or in a physical reply.

These were the three major scenarios that may arise in case you receive a notice from CPCB. You should write a reply accordingly as mentioned above and also attach necessary supporting documents and media evidence for respective activities. But there is yet another possibility that may arise from the CPCB notice. There is a possibility that the notice is based on false information or untrue findings. In such a case you should reply to the CPCB and inform them that their findings are untrue. You should attach all documentary and media evidence with the reply to support your claim and prove your contention. In case the reply is not entertained by the CPCB then you may head to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the dispute resolution and grant of order to revoke the CPCB directions.

Format of Reply to CPCB Notice

You should use a standard format to draft your reply. It is somewhat similar to the notice format in terms of the order of sections. It should contain all the necessary information including the salutation, subject, reference, your contention and signature. You should write your contentions in separate points for more clarity. You can also use the point-to-point reply method. In this manner, you can answer each question raised by the CPCB separately.


Hope you have learnt the workarounds you need to go through after CPCB serves a notice to your industry. But you can avoid all this by following the prescribed compliance for your industry. You must have the requisite knowledge or you can hire an expert to consult with. It is our duty as human beings to protect Mother Nature. If our activities are harming the environment we should act on ourselves instead of waiting for someone to remind us. The government drafts these rules, regulations and guidelines after due research and analysis. We must follow them to achieve the goal of sustainable development.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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Yash Chauhan is a law graduate from the University of Delhi and a skilled content writer at Corpseed. With a keen interest in the legal industry, he specializes in writing articles on contemporary legal developments, corporate compliances,...

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