The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a PIL pertaining to the issue of the worrying situation in Delhi due to air pollution. The Supreme Court had earlier observed that TV debates are causing more air pollution than anything else and everybody has their own agenda while hearing cases relating to increasing air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant had said, “You want to use some issue, make us observe and then make it controversial and then only blame game will remain. Debates on TV are creating more pollution than everyone else. Everybody has their own agenda. They don’t understand anything.”
The observation of the Bench came as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre raised the issue over television debates which claimed that he had misled the apex court on the contribution of stubble burning to air pollution.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the Delhi government told the Bench that said that the Centre’s figures on stubble burning contribution say that it varies from 0 to 58 per cent.
“We don’t want to penalise farmers. We have requested States to persuade the farmers to not burn stubble. Why are you, again and again, raising this,” the apex court told Singhvi.
The Centre has proposed a slew of measures including a ban on entry of all trucks in Delhi except vehicles carrying essential goods, shutting down of schools and 50 per cent attendance in offices of GNCTD to reduce air pollution.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Bench that the emergency meeting of the Chief Secretaries of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi along with others was held earlier.
The issue regarding work from home for Central government officers was considered but the total vehicles used for central government officers are not huge so the Centre has issued an advisory for pooling and sharing of vehicles, Mehta told the apex court.
During the hearing, the Bench had said there has to be some responsibility, not everything can be done through a judicial order.
The Bench had said that the direction of the Commission for air quality management for Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas have to be complied with.
The Delhi government told the apex court that it can increase metro and bus frequencies and requested the Court to order work from home, ban vehicles in the periphery, in adjoining states too, as there is no point of such ban only in Delhi.
The apex court had asked Solicitor General about how many vehicles are there and how are Central government officials are travelling and suggested that Central government officers living in government colonies can travel in public transport.
It also questioned what’s the reason for burning firecrackers in Delhi in the past several days after Diwali.
Meanwhile, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had said that the Delhi government is making efforts to check air pollution and employees will continue working from home till November 26.
In view of the improvement in air quality, the Delhi Government lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities, he had said.
With an aim to curb air pollution, the Delhi Government extended the ban imposed on the entry of trucks in Delhi carrying non-essential items till November 26.
The Directorate of Education, Delhi had said that all schools in the national capital will remain shut for physical classes till further orders due to rising levels of air pollution.
As per the System of Air Quality & Weather Forecasting & Research (SAFAR), the air quality in the national capital remained in the ‘poor’ category on Wednesday morning.
The overall Air Quality Index is at 280 with PM concentration of 2.5.
(With inputs from PTI)