SC doing its part to deal with stubble burning, Centre and states have to do theirs: Delhi HC

Declines to entertain plea seeking immediate steps to prevent stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana

SC doing its part to deal with stubble burning, Centre and states have to do theirs: Delhi HC

The top court on October 16 constituted the committee to monitor the steps taken by the neighbouring states to prevent stubble burning. PTI file

New Delhi, October 22

The Supreme Court is already doing its part to deal with stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana and now the Centre and the state governments have to do their bit, the Delhi High Court said  on Thursday.

The court made this observation while declining to entertain a plea seeking immediate steps to prevent stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana on the grounds that it would aggravate COVID-19 related problems.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said the apex court on October 16 constituted a committee headed by its former judge, Justice M B Lokur, to monitor the steps taken by these states to prevent stubble burning.

The high court further said that if it too hears the same issue, then there would be a danger of contradictory orders being passed.

With the observation, the bench disposed of the application which was moved by Sudhir Mishra, an advocate, in his main PIL filed in 2015 seeking directions to the Centre to take immediate steps to control increasing air pollution in the national capital.

The application had contended that stubble burning would increase the air pollution drastically in the national capital and could further aggravate the health problems in the city in view of the coronavirus pandemic.     

The high court, however, gave liberty to Mishra to approach it in the future in case of any necessity or difficulty.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma said the sun was not visible on Thursday and it was an emergency like situation in the national capital due to the poor air quality.

The ASG also referred to a news report which stated that people who have recovered from COVID were facing respiratory problems as the air quality worsened in the national capital region and were flocking to the hospitals.

He said that according to the news report the situation has arisen as the lungs of people who recovered from COVID were badly damaged due to the infection.

The high court said that “it was for the Union and the states to take steps to address the issue of stubble burning and poor air quality”.

It further said that “the apex court was doing its part and now the governments have to do theirs”.

The top court on October 16 constituted the committee to monitor the steps taken by the neighbouring states to prevent stubble burning.

It also ordered deployment of National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and Bharat Scouts and Guides for assisting in the monitoring of stubble burning in the agricultural fields of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi-NCR, saying all it wants is that “people of Delhi-NCR can breathe fresh air without any pollution”.

The apex court also directed the court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Delhi and the three states to assist the Lokur panel to enable physical surveillance of fields where stubble is burnt. PTI

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