Supreme Court has on Thursday decided to consider next week, Centre's Ordinance framed to deal with the problem of stubble burning. SG Mehta assured the Court that the Ordinance, with modifications approved by the Cabinet yesterday will be placed before the Court next week
A three-judge Bench of CJI, Justice Bopanna and Justice Ramasubramanian was hearing a PIL filed in 2020 seeking directions to govt of Punjab and Haryana to ensure complete ban on stubble burnings in their respective states & providing stubble burning machines to small and marginal farmers.
The Bench decided to hear the matter next week, after a request seeking the same was made by SG Tushar Mehta. During the hearing, SG Tushar Mehta informed the Court that there is already an ordinance which has been approved.
However, Senior Adv Vikas singh appearing for one of the petitioner opposed his submission and stated that the Ordinance was brought in only to stall the Judge who was appointed by the Court to oversee with this.
"Again we will come by September, again the same problem will start. Let them file a proper status report if proper Body was properly constituted, if they intend bring in a law by Parliament." Singh said.
SG refused to respond to the first part of submission made by Mr Singh, saying that it was made irresponsibly. "Yesterday Cabinet has approved some modifications in the ordinance and i will place the Ordinance on next week." SG said.
SG Tushar Mehta had in October 2020 informed the Court that the Central Government was bringing a comprehensive legislation to set up a permanent body to address the problem of stubble burning.
In that view of the matter, the SG had urged the bench to keep in abeyance the October 16 order appointing Justice Madan B Lokur as a One-Man Committee to monitor steps taken to tackle problems related to Stubble burning
The present plea has been filed by a 3rd year law student, Aman Banka and a Class XII student, Aditya Dubey highlighting that stubble burning contributes to almost 40-45% of air pollution in Delhi.
The plea has been filed to ensure that the Air Quality Index level in Delhi-NCR does not critical levels during the stubble burning season this year, especially in view of the prevailing Covid-19 Pandemic.
The petitioners have sought issuance of necessary directions to the Respondent-States to ensure availability of appropriate stubble removing machines, free of cost, to the small and marginal farmers of the concerned states.
They argued that stubble fires in Punjab & Haryana are a direct result of the "inability of the small & marginal farmers to purchase or rent out stubble removal machines due to financial incapacity", which leaves them with no option but to burn the plant residue in their fields.
Supreme Court had on 16th October 2020 accepted the suggestion made in this plea to appoint a one-man committee of Justice Lokur to prevent stubble burning, stating that the Chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana & UP will enable Justice Lokur to order to devise additional means and methods for preventing burning or stubble in the states.
The Court had further observed that the NCC, NSS & Bharat Scouts & Guides be deployed in the respective states for assisting in the monitoring of stubble burning in the agricultural areas in the states.
However, the Apex Court had later decided that its order passed to appoint Justice Lokur, as a one-man panel monitor the steps taken to tackle the problem of stubble-burning be kept in abeyance.
The decision was taken after Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta had submitted that the Central Government was bringing a comprehensive legislation to set up a permanent body to address the problem of stubble burning.
The Supreme Court in November 2019 had taken note of air pollution in Delhi-NCR and had passed a slew of directions. The State Governments were directed to ensure that no further crop stubble burning takes place.
Further, a ban was imposed on construction and demolition activities in Delhi and NCR. The Court had further highlighted that punishing the farmers for stubble burning was not the ultimate solution, but to provide them with the basic facilities and amenities.
In January 2020 the Court passed several directions, dealing right from the problem of stubble burning to vehicular emissions and construction dust in Delhi. The Central Government and the State Governments of Punjab, Haryana and UP were directed to prepare a comprehensive plan to prevent stubble burning.