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New Delhi, July 9 : The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain the Delhi government’s PIL seeking closure of 10 power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, claiming they contributed majorly to pollution in the national capital.
A bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy observed: “Find it very amusing state is coming to the SC against Union of India in a PIL.”
Declining to entertain the PIL, the bench asked the Delhi government to intervene in air pollution case pending before the top court and emphasised there was no need for Delhi to file a PIL against the Centre.
Despite exhortation from the Delhi government counsel, the top court did not budge from its stand and decline to entertain the PIL.
The bench also cautioned the government that it may shoot a volley of questions, if it insists on hearing the matter.
Justice Sinha told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Delhi government: “We have a lot of questions to ask you… we are giving you the option (to withdraw the PIL)”.
“If we ask all the questions, we do not which way the case will move. So, it’s better for Delhi government to intervene in the pending matter.”
Justice Sinha told Gonsalves that the government is asking for a mandamus to close these power plants or to immediately seize operations, if technology (to reduce emissions) is not installed in them. Gonsalves submitted pollution is a serious concern for the state government, as it severely affects the health and also leads to death of the people.
“Power plants contribute 80 per cent of sulphates etc. Control of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide has to be there. These are the killer gases,” he added.
He cited that it was stated by Central Pollution Control Board in its report that the Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) will be installed by 2019. The bench pointed out that now the deadline is 2022. Gonsalves replied that it makes a mockery of the entire thing and pollution is becoming worse now, thus, the deadline should be closer.
As Justice Sinha replied that that “we understood your case, state has come under a PIL against government of India”. Gonsalves said this is because it is affected by the power plants.
The top court told Gonsalves to intervene in air pollution case, or “if you want to go to NGT go there or intervene in pending matter”, and reiterated that government should withdraw the plea.
Justice Sinha told Gonsalves that “your case is Centre made a statement before the court and now they are deviating. If it is in the order, then go under that case (intervene in that case).”
After hearing argument, the top court said that the writ is dismissed as withdrawn.
On Thursday, the top court commenting on the ongoing political tussle between Centre and Delhi government, had said for better governance, both will have to “walk hand-in-hand or at least, side-by-side”. It added that differences between the two over the exercise of administrative powers in Delhi “is almost a daily governance tussle”, and maturity is required from both sides.
IANS / AGENCY