Delhi air pollution: Supreme Court to hear PIL today

By Livemint
The Centre has proposed a slew of measures including a ban on entry of all trucks in Delhi except vehicles carrying essential goods (Shrikant Singh)

The Supreme Court today will be hearing a Public interest litigation (PIL) regarding the Delhi air pollution. For last couple of weeks, the air quality in the national capital has been moving between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category. Today it stands at the ‘poor’ category with the AQI standing at 280, as per SAFAR India.

 Earlier, the apex court observed TV debates are causing more pollution than anything else. The Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant had said, "You want to use some issue, make us observe and then make it controversial and then only blame game will remain. Debates on TV are creating more pollution than everyone else. Everybody has their own agenda. They don't understand anything."

This comes after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre raised the issue over television debates which claimed that he had misled the apex court on the contribution of stubble burning to air pollution.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the Delhi government told the Bench that said that the Centre's figures on stubble burning contribution say that it varies from 0 to 58%.

"We don't want to penalise farmers. We have requested States to persuade the farmers to not burn stubble. Why are you, again and again, raising this," the apex court told Singhvi.

The Centre has proposed a slew of measures including a ban on entry of all trucks in Delhi except vehicles carrying essential goods, shutting down of schools and 50 per cent attendance in offices of GNCTD to reduce air pollution.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Bench that the emergency meeting of the Chief Secretaries of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi along with others was held earlier.

The issue regarding work from home for Central government officers was considered but the total vehicles used for central government officers are not huge so the Centre has issued an advisory for pooling and sharing of vehicles, Mehta told the apex court.

During the hearing, the Bench had said there has to be some responsibility, not everything can be done through a judicial order.

The Bench had said that the direction of the Commission for air quality management for Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas have to be complied with.

The Delhi government told the apex court that it can increase metro and bus frequencies and requested the Court to order work from home, ban vehicles in the periphery, in adjoining states too, as there is no point of such ban only in Delhi.

The apex court had asked Solicitor General about how many vehicles are there and how are Central government officials are travelling and suggested that Central government officers living in government colonies can travel in public transport.

It also questioned what's the reason for burning firecrackers in Delhi in the past several days after Diwali.

(With inputs from agencies)


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