SC refuses to entertain Delhi govt's plea seeking closure of power plants in Punjab, Haryana, UP

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed by the Delhi government against the Centre seeking closure of 10 power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, contributing to air pollution of the national capital.

A Bench Justices Navin Sinha and RS Reddy refused to entertain the public interest litigation (PIL) of the Delhi government and asked its counsel to withdraw the plea. The plea was then withdrawn by the Delhi government.

The PIL filed by the Delhi government sought a direction to Centre to install Fuel Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) device in 10 thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as in absence of the device, the power plants contribute majorly to pollute the air in the national capital.

The plea also sought quashing of an order passed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to these thermal power plants, extending the deadline for installation of FGD.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the Delhi government told the Bench that power plants contribute 80 per cent of sulphates, etc and control of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide has to be there. “These are the killer gases,” he added.

Gonsalves stated that according to the IIT Kanpur report, Delhi’s pollution levels are high. He further said that it was stated by the CPCB in its report that the FGD be installed by 2019.

To this, Justice Navin Sinha replied that now the deadline is the year 2022.

Gonsalves contended that pollution is becoming worse and the deadline should be closer.

“We understood your case. The state has come under a PIL against the Government of India,” the Bench observed.

Gonsalves replied that the State government has approached the top court because it is affected by the power plants.

The Bench told Gonsalves that the Delhi government’s case is that the Centre made a statement before the court and now they are deviating. It said the Delhi government can intervene in the same case where the Centre reportedly gave an undertaking that it will install FGDs.

Thereafter, Gonsalves appearing for the Delhi government withdrew the PIL from the court.