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'Some Sections Of Media & Some People Project As If We're Villains Trying To Close Schools' : CJI In Delhi Pollution Matter

Srishti Ojha
3 Dec 2021 9:21 AM GMT
Some Sections Of Media & Some People Project As If Were Villains Trying To Close Schools : CJI In Delhi Pollution Matter
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The Supreme Court on Friday expressed concerns at the misreporting of the court proceedings, which conveyed a "twisted" impression about the judges' statements to the public.The Chief Justice of India orally said that some sections of media twisted the observations made by the judges in the Delhi pollution matter to project them as "villains". A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV...

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed concerns at the misreporting of the court proceedings, which conveyed a "twisted" impression about the judges' statements to the public.

The Chief Justice of India orally said that some sections of media twisted the observations made by the judges in the Delhi pollution matter to project them as "villains".

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

The Bench specifically objected to the manner in which its statements made the judges yesterday on the issue of opening of schools amid the Delhi pollution crisis have been reported.

"One thing what we've observed, don't know whether its intentional or not, it seems some sections of media & some people try to project as if we are villains, who are trying to close schools. That's unfortunate", CJI Ramana said.

The CJI clarified that the Court never directed the Delhi Government to close schools, and the decision was taken by the Government itself.

"We never suggested, you took a decision & promised us that you will do that. You had said you were closing schools & offices etc. And see today's newspapers!" CJI Ramana told Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the Delhi Government.

Senior Advocate Singhvi also expressed his grievance and pointed out that one newspaper reported that the Supreme Court intended to take over the administration from the Delhi Government.

"This is unfortunate. Your Lordships must put the blame where it is. The hearing happened in constructive manner, and one newspaper conveyed as if yesterday's hearing was an aggressive combat as if Your Lordships are intending to take over the administration", Singhvi submitted.

"Freedom of press, we can't take away, we can't say anything. They can twist, can write anything, they can pickup anything. You can have a press conference and say something, We can't. Some sections have projected as if we aren't interested in taking welfare measures for students and education", CJI replied.

"You've freedom to go explain, and condemn whatever you want. We can't do that na? Where did we say we're interested in taking over administration?", CJI told Mr Singhvi.

Referring to the newspaper article, Mr Singhvi further stated that it projected that the Supreme Court completely lambasted the Delhi Government and threatened to take over Administration.

Mr Singhvi submitted when the Court has allowed press reporting, there has to be some responsibility.

Sharing another instance, Justice DY Chandrachud said that while hearing a matter relating to judicial infrastructure, the bench had suggested the Centre to have a thought process on having a national body so that High Courts don't have to depend on state governments for funds. However the same was reported with a headline that Supreme Court has said that High Court has to go with begging bowl to State Governments.

"We have seen how High Court's work, we were trying to do something constructive but look the way things said in the court are twisted there", Justice Chandrachud said.

"Constructive 90% is ignored & overwhelmed by short 5-10% your Lordships says", Mr Singhvi said

"Happens to us everyday Mr Singhvi", CJI said.

Mr Singhvi stated that Court press reporting is different from political reporting on ground and fair reporting is part of the responsibility.

"Problem is after Virtual hearing, there's no control. Who's reporting nobody knows", CJI said.

In response to Justice Surya Kant's suggestions one should simply ignore it, Mr Singhvi stated that ignoring this sometimes leads to emboldenment

"What we meant is, this is part of life we've to take it like that" CJI said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, in a lighter vein, said "With no ill-will to anyone, there is a humorous quote by Mark Twain, if you don't read newspapers you're uninformed if you do you are ill informed"

The bench was hearing a writ petition (Aditya Dubey(Minor) and others versus Union of India and others) which seeks directions to reduce the air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

The matter will be next considered on December 10th.

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 directions were issued by the Commission after the Court yesterday expressed deep anguish at the pollution levels not coming down despite the claims made by the Centre, Delhi Government and the adjoining NCR states of having taken several measures.

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

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