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Delhi Pollution : Supreme Court Directs Centre & Delhi Govt To Implement Directions Of Air Quality Management Commission

Srishti Ojha
3 Dec 2021 5:38 AM GMT
Delhi Pollution : Supreme Court Directs Centre & Delhi Govt To Implement Directions Of Air Quality Management Commission
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The Supreme Court on Friday took note of the decisions taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and directed the Central Government and the Delhi Government to implement the same in order to tackle the air pollution in the national capital.The Commission took several decisions yesterday, following the strong critical remarks by the Supreme Court regarding...

The Supreme Court on Friday took note of the decisions taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and directed the Central Government and the Delhi Government to implement the same in order to tackle the air pollution in the national capital.

The Commission took several decisions yesterday, following the strong critical remarks by the Supreme Court regarding the non-implementation of the directions issued to control air pollution. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta took the Court through the decisions taken by the Commission ,which include the constitution of an "Emergency Task Force" and "Flying Squads" to take action against defaulting entities. The Commission also decided to restrict the functioning of those industries, which are not using PNG or cleaner fuels, by 8 hours on weekends and to close them on weekends.

The Court also took into account the affidavit filed by the Delhi Government which mentioned the decision taken by it to close the physical functioning of schools until further order. Yesterday, the Court had criticized the Delhi Government for allowing the re-opening of schools amidst the pollution situation.

The State of Uttar Pradesh, represented by Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, took objection to the decision to close industries saying that it will impact the working of sugarcane and milk industries. The Court allowed the State of UP to raise its grievances before the Commission.

The Delhi Government also wanted relaxations in the construction ban for allowing the construction of seven government hospitals. The Court said that the construction can be allowed subject to the directions of the Commission.

The Court said that it will keep the matter pending and will consider the case next Friday to monitor the situation.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi Government, took objection to a newspaper report on yesterday's proceedings. According to the report, the Court had observed that it will take over the administration of the Delhi Government, if it failed to control pollution. Dr.Singhvi submitted that such a statement was never made by the Court. The bench also agreed that it did not make such a statement.

"When court allows press reporting, they have to be responsible. Court press reporting is different from political reporting. There has to be responsibility", Singhvi submitted.

The CJI also said that the press projected the Court as a "villain" which wanted the schools to be shut.

"We've observed, don't known whether its intentional or not, Some sections of media try to project we are villains, & we want closure of schools. You had said we were closing schools & introducing work from home. And see today newspapers! Some have projected as if we aren't interested in welfare measures", the CJI said. "But we can't take away the freedom of press. Freedom of press, we can't say anything!. They can say anything!", CJI added.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant was hearing the writ petition Aditya Dubey versus Union of India filed through Advocate Nikhil Jain, seeking emergency steps to control the worsening air quality situation in the national capital.

On November 24, 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 however permitted non-polluting works related to construction such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and interior decoration to continue. The Court also directed the States to use the funds which have been collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages notified under the Minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers.

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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