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'Lame Excuses', 'Passing Buck' : Supreme Court Pulls Up Delhi Govt In Air Pollution Matter

Srishti Ojha
15 Nov 2021 9:09 AM GMT
Lame Excuses, Passing Buck : Supreme Court Pulls Up Delhi Govt In Air Pollution Matter
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The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi Government, calling it out for making 'lame excuses' for not taking emergent measures in handling the ongoing Delhi pollution crisis and for "passing the buck" to municipal corporations. A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant made the observations while hearing a plea by...

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi Government, calling it out for making 'lame excuses' for not taking emergent measures in handling the ongoing Delhi pollution crisis and for "passing the buck" to municipal corporations.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant made the observations while hearing a plea by an environmental activist Aditya Dubey filed seeking directions in relation to pollution caused in Delhi and adjoining areas.

"This kind of lame excuses will compel us to hold an audit inquiry into total revenue you're collecting and spending on popularity slogans instead of looking after people," Justice Surya Kant said.

The remark came in response to a submission made by Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing on behalf of the Delhi Government submitted that the responsibility of cleaning the roads using mechanized machines was of the Municipal Corporations. He made this submission in response to Court's query as to how many mechanized machines can be increased immediately by the Delhi Government for cleaning the roads.

Mr Mehra however submitted that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi which is an independent autonomous body is concerned with the present issue and may be allowed place an affidavit in this regard.

"Again you're passing the buck to MCD," CJI remarked. The bench pointed out that there were several municipal corporations in Delhi-NCR.

After Mr Mehra requested for some time to take instructions, CJI Ramana said, "No no this is not a final hearing of a civil appeal."

In response to court's query regarding whether the machines available are sufficient, Mr Mehra said, "Whatever is required, there's a commitment from top of the Government Board, the Hon'ble LG and the Council of Ministers."

"That's not the statement we want. Everyone is committed. Its the steps taken on ground level that's important," CJI said

Mr Mehra then sought to take instructions in relation to Court's query from the Special Secretary. He later informed the Court that 69 machines are currently and once the MCD informs how many machines are required. funds will be issued immediately by the Delhi Government.

The Court also pointed out that the Delhi Government's affidavit was blaming the farmers' stubble burning for the pollution, even as the Central Government submitted that it contributes to less than 10%.

"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.

The Supreme Court  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.

The Court has directed the Centre to convene an emergency meeting of the Commission overseeing the air purity of the National Capital Region, and posted the matter to Wednesday.

Also from the hearing :

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

Delhi Air Pollution - Industry, Power, Transport & Construction Major Contributors : Supreme Court Directs Centre To Call For Emergency Meeting

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