Reprimanding the Centre for implementing pollution-control measures only after the weather becomes severe, the Supreme Court said that steps should instead be taken anticipating a rise in air pollution.
Hearing a petition pertaining to the air pollution crisis in Delhi NCR on Wednesday, a special bench of the Supreme Court expressed concern that the air quality could deteriorate further.
Reprimanding the Centre for implementing pollution-control measures only after the weather becomes severe, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said that steps should instead be taken anticipating a rise in air pollution. The plea was filed by 17-year-old Delhi student Aditya Dubey.
“This is the national capital. Look at the signal we are sending to the world. You can stop these activities in anticipation itself,” Justice DY Chandrachud remarked.
The apex court directed the Centre and states to continue measures, suggested earlier, to tackle the crisis for a few more days. In the meantime, if the pollution level reduces to 100, then some restrictions may be lifted, the bench said. The court will hear the matter again on November 29.
On the issue of stubble burning, CJI Ramana questioned what the bureaucracy has done so far to deal with the crisis. “What is the bureaucracy doing? They can go on field talk to farmers, involve scientists and take a decision, suggests CJI,” he said, according to ANI.
The governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were asked for data on the amount of stubble that has been removed from these states, as well as the emission control methods that have been implemented so far.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Vikas Singh quoted media reports, which claimed that farmers are not being fined for stubble burning in Punjab due to the upcoming elections. “We are not concerned. We are only concerned with pollution,” CJI Ramana retorted.
“We cannot really micromanage such things and say what fines have to be imposed etc,” Justice Chandrachud said.
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