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"We Are Not Concerned With Commissions, Ensure That There Is No Smog In The City Now": Supreme Court Tells Centre In Stubble Burning Case

Mehal Jain
6 Nov 2020 9:46 AM GMT
We Are Not Concerned With Commissions, Ensure That There Is No Smog In The City Now: Supreme Court Tells Centre In Stubble Burning Case
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The Supreme Court on Friday heard the plea concerning the issue of stubble burning and consequent Air Pollution in Delhi."As far as the ordinance (on "Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas") is concerned, we have made the appointment of members to the Commission. The commission shall start functioning today itself ", began SG Tushar Mehta."We are not concerned...

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The Supreme Court on Friday heard the plea concerning the issue of stubble burning and consequent Air Pollution in Delhi.

"As far as the ordinance (on "Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas") is concerned, we have made the appointment of members to the Commission. The commission shall start functioning today itself ", began SG Tushar Mehta.
"We are not concerned with that. There are many commissions and brains working. We just want you to ensure that there is no smog in the city now", said CJ S. A. Bobde, inclined to take up the matter post the Diwali vacation.
At this juncture senior advocate Vikas Singh intervened to submit, "There is a huge problem in the city...Coughing has started for me also...", adding on a lighter note, "If anything is to happen to anybody in this litigation, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta would be responsible".
"Not the Union of India but Mr. Tushar Mehta would be personally responsible. And nobody would get him bail", commented the CJ in a lighter vein.
"I will be responsible", conceded Mr. Mehta in good humour.
Mr. Singh also pointed out certain issues with regard to the new legal framework- "The Chairman is a bureaucrat...secondly, there is no representation of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare...then there is no classification of offences. All offences punishable with a sentence of five years..."
"They (the Commission) can talk to anybody in the country, including the Ministry of Health...considering the present attitude of people, all our non-cognisable offences? There is 5 years' imprisonment for all? Should there be a new grading of offences? Everything is one-fold, how can it be? ", the CJI sought to know from the SG.
"In the meanwhile, some steps have to be taken", pointed out Mr Singh.
"We don't want to advise. They are all knowledgeable people", noted the CJ.
The SG pointed out that the members of the Commission are a professor of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, an Ex-Director General, India Meteorological Department (IMD), and some representatives of NGOs, all of whom are experts in the field and would start working from today.
"The public health emergency is today. By the time the court reopens, it will be over. The crucial period is right now. What I had said earlier was not in only a lighter vein, I am actually suffering...Something drastic has to be done", urged Mr Singh.
"Ultimately, we are a court of law. The problem has to be dealt with by the Executive- they have the money, the power, the resources. And now the will also?", noted the CJ.
"Definitely, the will!", asserted the SG.
"We are not abdicating our responsibility or our functions. It's just that we have some limitations, not as to power, but as regards functionality not power", said the CJ.
"And I am a strong advocate of it. But the emergency is today. I beseech you to have the matter today itself at the end of board", pleaded Mr. Singh.
However, the bench adjourned the matter to immediately after the vacation, as the SG assured that he will report to the bench then on state of affairs.
As the bench decided to have the matter immediately upon the reopening after the vacations the SD in short the bench that he shall report


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