Air pollution: SC to examine Ordinance on Commission

SC to examine Ordinance on Commission to tackle air pollution

The petitioners raised the issue of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh

Representative image.

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to examine an Ordinance issued by the Union government to set up a permanent Commission to tackle air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian posted a couple of matters related to PIL by environmental activist M C Mehta and a minor, Aditya Dubey, for consideration next Friday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, informed the court "we have come out with a law, and the ordinance has been promulgated."

"President Ram Nath Kovind signed the Ordinance to tackle air pollution and to monitor and improve air quality in Delhi-NCR," he said.

"We would like to look at Ordinance before passing any order. Even the petitioners would like to see. Let's hear it next Friday," the bench said.

The petitioners raised the issue of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Dubey, cautioned that the situation would get worse by next week.

"We will hear all parties and look at the points made by you. This is not an adversarial litigation," the bench said.

In a lighter vein, the CJI told Mehta, "If any of the parties here fall sick because of air pollution till next date then you are solely responsible."

Mehta was quick to acknowledge, saying, "What falls from you is mandamus".

The CJI also observed that some experts have informed us informally that it is not only stubble burning that created pollution. 

"All of you should also stop using the beautiful cars. All of you start using bicycles now," he remarked.

The Union government had on Thursday brought out an Ordinance to set up a permanent Commission for air quality management in Delhi and adjoining areas as it has become a cause of concern due to activities of stubble burning, vehicular pollution, road dust and urban construction.

The contravention of Commission's orders would be an offence, punishable with upto five-year jail or with fine upto Rs one crore or both.

A 'Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas' would be set to provide a permanent solution and establish a self regulated, and democratically monitored mechanism for tackling air pollution, it said.