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Legal

Updated on: Monday, November 15, 2021, 12:46 PM IST

FPJ Legal: 'Lame excuses', Supreme Court slams Delhi govt over air pollution

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The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Delhi government saying it is passing the buck to Municipal Commissioner and warned it of auditing the revenue it's earning and spending on popularity slogans.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant while persuing the affidavit filed by the Delhi government also said that affidavit is all about bashing farmers and how the entire cause is stubble burning. It took exception to the Delhi government passing the buck to MCD and said, "This kind of lame excuse will force us to hold an audit of the revenue you are earning and spending on popularity slogans."

The observation came when the Bench asked senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, on the measures taken towards road cleaning and he replied that the municipal corporations may be asked to file an affidavit detailing the same.

The Bench asked Delhi government why only 69 mechanised sweeping machines are there to clean the roads from dust, which continue to be a major source of pollution.

It asked Mehra to inform immediately how many mechanised road sweeping machines the government could procure in the next 24 hours to ease pollution caused by dust particles. Mehra replied that there are 69 machines and more can be procured on a war footing.

The Supreme Court concluded that the major culprits of air pollution are transport, industries, and vehicular traffic, apart from stubble burning in some areas, news agency ANI has reported.

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Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the state government to respond by tomorrow evening over which industries can be stopped, what vehicles can be prevented from plying, and which power plants can be stopped. It also asked them to suggest ways to provide alternative power.

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to call an emergency meeting on Tuesday to take measures like stopping non-essential construction transport, power plants and implementing work from home.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, directed the concerned secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and Delhi to attend the meeting to make their submissions before the committee formed by it.

"The affidavit filed by respondents and after hearing we come to the conclusion the major culprits of pollution are construction activity, industry, tansport, power and vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some parts. Even though some decisions were taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act has not indicated precisely what steps they are going to take to control factors that are causing air pollution.

"In view of that, we direct the government of India to a call for an emergency meeting tomorrow and discuss the areas which we indicated and what orders they can pass to effectively control air pollution. So far, as stubble burning is concerned, broadly affidavits state that their contribution is not so much except for two months. However, at present a good amount of stubble burning is taking place in Haryana and Punjab," the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said.

The top court also asked the state governments of Punjab and Haryana to pursue the farmers for two weeks not to do stubble burning.

"We direct the government of India, NCR states to examine introducing work from home for employees," the bench said.

Earlier, the Delhi government told the Supreme Court that it is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control the local emission, which would help in bringing down the air pollution in the national capital, but added that it will have only a limited impact.

Earlier, the Delhi government told the Supreme Court that it is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control the local emission, which would help in bringing down the air pollution in the national capital, but added that it will have only a limited impact.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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Published on: Monday, November 15, 2021, 12:13 PM IST
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