The Supreme Court on Saturday termed the rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR an "emergency" situation and asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take emergency measures to improve the air quality.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said the situation of pollution is so bad that people are wearing masks inside their houses.
"Everybody has the passion of blaming farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? It is an emergency situation, multiple measures are needed to be taken on the ground level," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said. Justice Surya Kant is himself from a farming family.
The apex court has now asked the Centre to revert on Monday. The top court also took note of the fact that schools have opened in the national capital and asked the authorities to take immediate measures such as stopping vehicles or imposing a lockdown in Delhi.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said there is stubble burning in Punjab.
The bench, however, said, "Your projection is as if farmers are only responsible. What about steps taken to contain the pollution in Delhi? Mehta clarified that he was not even remotely suggesting that only farmers are responsible.
The bench also suggested the Centre for a two days lockdown to tackle air pollution in the national capital.
"Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live?" it said.
The Apex Court said that air quality in Delhi is in the 'severe' category and in another two to three days it will dip further. The Court asked the Centre to take an emergency decision. "We will look at a long term solution later," the Court added.
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