Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Farmers Stubble Burning Contributes To 10% Pollution, Centre Says; 'Hue & Cry Baseless', Says Supreme Court

Srishti Ojha
15 Nov 2021 6:03 AM GMT
Farmers Stubble Burning Contributes To 10% Pollution, Centre Says; Hue & Cry Baseless, Says Supreme Court
x
The Court said that by focusing on stubble burning, something insignificant was being targeted.

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the hue and cry over farmers stubble burning is without factual basis, after the Central Government submitted that the the stubble burning contributed to less than 10% of the air pollution in Delhi.Based on the affidavits submitted by the Centre, the Court concluded that the major culprits of pollution are industries, power, vehicular traffic ...

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the hue and cry over farmers stubble burning is without factual basis, after the Central Government submitted that the the stubble burning contributed to less than 10% of the air pollution in Delhi.

Based on the affidavits submitted by the Centre, the Court concluded that the major culprits of pollution are industries, power, vehicular traffic and construction, and stubble burning was not a major contributor.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant was hearing a matter seeking emergency steps to control the worsening air quality situation in the national capital.

While explaining the several measures contemplated in an emergency meeting held between the Secretaries of the Union Government, and Governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, the Solicitor General said that stubble burning contributes to less than 10% of the pollution.

When the hearing started, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the writ petitioner, brought up the issue relating to stubble burning in Punjab. He said that the government was not willing to take strong measures in view of the impending assembly elections in Punjab. He therefore sought for the constitution of an independent commission to oversee the process.

The bench then said that it is not concerned with elections or politics.

"Last day also we clarified we are not concerned with politics, we only want pollution to come down..why bring up elections", the Chief Justice of India asked.

"We are in the middle of crisis situation? We can't conjure up new solutions", Justice Chandrachud added.

The bench then asked the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta about the outcome of the meeting with the Secretaries of the Governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.

The SG took the bench through the affidavit filed early today regarding the decisions taken in the meeting.

As the SG was reading out the various steps contemplated in the meeting, the bench commented that these are "long term" steps and said that they wanted to know what are the emergency steps.

"Last day, the hon'ble CJI had said the situation is emergent. The suggestions you're pointing are, this can only be a long term plan. How many mechanized road cleaning machines are available in Delhi?", Justice Surya Kant asked.

The Solicitor General had earlier submitted that the contribution of stubble burning to the pollution was about 10%.

"Stubble burning is not major cause of pollution, as of now it's 10% is what I've been told", the Solicitor General had said.

"Are you agreeing that stubble burning is not the main cause? That hue and cry has no scientific or factual basis?", Justice Surya Kant observed.

Pointing out to the affidavit filed by the Central Government, Justice Chandrachud observed "75% of the pollution is due to three factors - industry, dust and transport".

"Last hearing, we mentioned stubble burning is not major issue, city related issues are there. So if you take steps on them, situation will improve", the Chief Justice of India observed.

"In fact now the cat is out of the bag, the farmers stubble burning contributes to 4% of the pollution as per the chart. So we are targeting something which is totally insignificant", Justice Chandrachud said.



After conferring among themselves, the judges said that they are not satisfied with the emergency meeting was held by the executive.

"This is not the way we expected a executive emergency meeting will be held. It is unfortunate that we have to set the agenda. The sum and substance is construction, power, transport, dust and stubble burning..these are the issues. Ask the committee created and decide how to implement the action plan by tomorrow evening", the Chief Justice of India told the SG.

The bench adjourned the hearing till day after tomorrow directing The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas to call for an emergency meeting to discuss the issues highlighted by the Court.

The Court dictated the following order after the hearing :

"Heard the counsels at length, after perusing the affidavits filed, we have come to a conclusion that major culprits of air pollution include industries, power, vehicular traffic  and construction apart from stubble burning in some areas.  Even though some decisions were taken by the task force, it has not indicated precisely what steps they are going to take to control these factors which are causing pollution.  The Commission under the act has not indicated what steps will be taken to control the pollution-causing elements.

We direct the Govt of India to call emergency meeting tomorrow, discuss the issue we indicate and decide what steps can be taken.

With reference to stubble burning, all affidavits indicate contribution isn't to much, but its still taking place in Punjab and Haryana. We ask the States to pursue farmers to stop stubble burning for some time.

We direct  the Centre and States of NCR region to consider introducing work from home in the meantime. The Chief secretaries of UP, Haryana Punjab to be present for the emergency meeting.

Matter to be heard day after tomorrow"

The Supreme Court had on Saturday expressed serious concerns at the worsening air quality of Delhi, and asked the Central Government to take immediate measures to address the situation after discussing with the concerned state governments.

The Court had also commented that an attempt was made to project that stubble burning was the major cause, and lamented that "farmer bashing has become a fashion now". The Court had observed that there should be focus on other causes of pollution like industrial and vehicular emissions.

The Bench had also suggested that a 2 day lockdown may be imposed to handle the situation, if necessary.

Expressing serious concern towards the probable effect of Delhi's present air pollution crisis on the health of school going children, the Bench had also asked the Delhi Government what steps have been taken in that regard.

Following the observations made by the Top Court, a meeting was conducted by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in relation to the Delhi crisis, where the Delhi Government has reportedly decided to shut the schools in Delhi for a week. The classes will however continue online.

Case Title : Aditya Dubey(Minor) Versus Union of India and others| WP(c) No.1135 of 2020

Click Here To Read/Download The Order


 



Next Story