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Delhi Pollution : Supreme Court Asks States To Show Compliance Of Air Quality Commission's Directions

Srishti Ojha
29 Nov 2021 6:05 AM GMT
Delhi Pollution : Supreme Court Asks States To Show Compliance Of Air Quality Commissions Directions
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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Governments of National Capital Territory of Delhi, and the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to file affidavits showing their compliance with the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.If any directions are remaining not complied, the States have to comply with...

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Governments of National Capital Territory of Delhi,  and the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to file affidavits showing their compliance with the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.

If any directions are remaining not complied, the States have to comply with them forthwith.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant, hearing a matter seeking emergency steps to control the worsening air quality situation in the national capital, required that the affidavits be submitted by Wednesday evening. The Court will consider the matter next on Thursday, December 2.

The bench also directed the States to show compliance of the directions issued by the Court on November 24 to disburse the welfare funds to construction workers, whose livelihood get affected due to the ban imposed on construction activities.

On Monday, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta explained to the bench the various instructions given by the Commission to the NCR states for reduction of pollution. The Solicitor General submitted that while some directions were complied with, there was lack of information regarding compliance of certain other directions.

"We'll ask each state to respond, what directions they've implemented. Otherwise we'll be forced to create an independent task force. There has to be implementation. If they won't implement, creating task force is the only way", the Chief Justice of India remarked during the hearing.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the Central Vista project work was going on in Delhi, despite the construction ban imposed by the Court. The Court has sought the response of the Solicitor General on this aspect as well.

On last occasion, taking note of the air quality crisis in the national capital, the Supreme Court had re-imposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR until further orders. The Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR had earlier decided to lift the ban with effect from November 22, taking note of the slight improvement in the air quality.

The Court had also directed the Central Government, Delhi-NCR States and the Commission are to take appropriate steps to deal with the situation.

The Court had also noted that the graded response plan of the Commission envisages taking action "after a deterioration in the air quality is actually recorded". Instead of waiting for the air quality to dip to severe levels, the Commission must taken steps in advance, anticipating the weather conditions.

Therefore the Court had observed that advance measures must be taken with respect to the Delhi's air quality crisis, on the basis of anticipation about wind pattern and scientific model based on the air pollution levels in different seasons, instead of waiting for taking emergency steps after the air quality has become severe.

The Court passed the order in the writ petition Aditya Dubey(Minor) and another versus Union of India, which is filed seeking urgent steps to improve the air quality of Delhi-NCR.

Taking up the case in November second week when the air quality in Delhi-NCR had plummeted to severe grade, the Court had asked the Central Government and NCR steps to take emergency measures.

The Bench had stated that the major causes of air pollution in Delhi are industries, power, vehicular traffic and construction, and not stubble burning as was sought to be projected.

Case Title: Aditya Dubey (Minor) & Anr vs Union of India & Ors 

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