Delhi Air Pollution: Supreme Court Comes Down Hard On Centre, States | Key Points
The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh over severe pollution level in in the National Capital Region (NCR), and banned all construction activities and garbage burning.
In a stinging observation, the court said state governments should be held legally responsible for “allowing people in neighbouring places to die”. “Who is responsible? The state governments are responsible. They are only interested in electioneering. They are allowing people in neighbouring places to die. They have to be actionable in tort,” a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said.
Delhi-NCR has been engulfed in a thick blanket of smog since the festival of Diwali on October 27.
What Supreme Court directed on air pollution:
- The Supreme Court ordered an immediate and complete stop to stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh blamed for 46 per cent of the pollution.
- The apex court summoned their chief secretaries on November 6, saying the time has come to "fix accountability" for this kind of situation which violates the right to life of citizens.
- The court directed the Centre and the states concerned to prepare a roadmap within three weeks to prevent a situation in future like the one that is currently prevailing in the region due to toxic air quality.
- The top court did some tough-talking and warned that the administration at large will be made accountable even if there is a single incident of stubble burning henceforth.
- It issued a slew of directions that also included stopping all construction and demolition activities as well as garbage and waste burning in Delhi-NCR till further orders.
- The bench also questioned the Delhi government over its much-publicised odd-even vehicle scheme, which kicked off Monday, and directed it to place the data of pollution levels of previous periods when the scheme was put in place to curb air pollution.
- The top court said Rs 1 lakh penalty will be imposed for construction or demolition activities in Delhi-NCR and the offenders involved in garbage or waste burning would be penalised by Rs 5,000.
- Regarding pollution due to dust on roads, the bench directed that water be sprinkled on roads having more dust and traffic plan be prepared so as to tackle the issue of pollution due to traffic congestion.
- The bench observed that it is shocking that every year, Delhi-NCR is choking due to severe pollution and "we are not able to do anything".
- "It cannot be done in a civilised country," the bench said, adding, "If people do not respect rights of others, then they also have no rights. Right to life is the most important right".
- The bench said in case of violation of its directions regarding steps to curb stubble burning, it would haul up the entire administration, right from the chief secretary to the Gram Panchayat and 'Sarpanch' level, and they all would be held responsible.
- The top court also directed authorities to ensure there is no power cut in Delhi-NCR so that generators are not used except in emergency essential services.
(With PTI inputs)
Tuesday, November 05, 2019 12:16 AM