Supreme Court pulls up Centre, Delhi govt on air pollution, asks for report by Friday 10 am

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Dec 2 : The Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on both the Centre and the Delhi government, following continued deterioration in air quality in the national capital, and directed both to take serious measures immediately to reduce the AQI levels and submit a report within 24 hours.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said, “We are giving you 24 hours time. We want you to consider this seriously and find a solution. We may hear tomorrow at 10 am for 30 minutes. You inform us about the next steps of measures to check pollution, otherwise we will pass some ‘direction’.”

The direction from the Bench, also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, came in view of the sudden opening of schools announced by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Apart from this, the bench expressed deep displeasure over not taking adequate action on industrial units and vehicles, major factors causing air pollution. The top court of the country rejected the claims of the Centre and the Delhi government that all measures have been taken to reduce pollution. The court questioned why the pollution level was increasing when all measures were being taken. The bench once again raised serious question on the manner in which the bureaucrats function.

It raised serious questions on the permission to open schools amid alarming pollution levels and pulled up the Delhi government for this.

The Chief Justice asked the Delhi government that when adults are allowed to work from home in view of pollution, why are children up to three-four years of age being forced to go to school?

On this, senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Delhi government, said the schools have been opened on the opinion of experts, who had told that due to lack of school, the learning process of the children was being affected.

Then, the court asked what happened to the pollution reduction measures? Singhvi said that 1500 vehicles causing pollution have been confiscated in November.

Dissatisfied with the government’s claims, the bench said, “Nothing is happening at the ground level as the pollution level is increasing. We think we are wasting our time.”

Justice Surya Kant said that efforts were being made to gain cheap popularity in the name of environment. People were seen on the streets carrying banners of ‘Save the Environment,’ but the level of pollution was increasing continuously.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for petitioner school student Aditya Dubey, once again objected to the continuation of the construction work of Central Vista project, saying that development cannot take place at the cost of people’s health.

Giving an example, he said “When we go to India Gate, dust is flying all around. In such a situation, what is the meaning of the court order banning construction activities? Today, the air pollution level of Delhi is 500 AQI.”

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central government, questions on the action being taken against industrial units causing pollution in Haryana.

On Wednesday, an affidavit was filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Central Government, saying that in view of construction activities in the Central Vista project, all precautionary measures were being taken to reduce pollution and that pollution was not spreading due to the construction work.


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