Air pollution: Supreme Court asks Centre to come out with concrete steps to deal with stubble burning

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday asked the Centre to file an affidavit detailing ‘concrete steps’ to deal in future with the situation of stubble burning, which is a major cause of air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR) during the winters.

The order by a bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, came after it was submitted that the pollution caused due to stubble burning will again come to the fore in the future.

“Mr Tushar Mehta (Solicitor General), you come back with some concrete steps on stubble burning,” the bench said.

The top court was hearing a petition which has raised the issue of pollution caused due to stubble burning in neighboring states of Delhi.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench, “The issue will arise again. For this year, the issue of stubble burning is over and it will start again next time. The Centre has said nothing on this.”

The bench asked the solicitor general to file an affidavit on the issue.

The apex court had last month said it was “not satisfied” with the work done by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, which has been constituted by the Centre to tackle air pollution.

“We don’t know what your commission is doing. People in Delhi are not satisfied with your work. We are also not satisfied,” the bench had said.

Mehta had earlier told the bench that the commission is working on ‘war footing’ and several steps have been taken to deal with pollution.

On November 6, the apex court had asked the Centre to ensure there is no smog in Delhi as it was informed that the Commission has started functioning from that day.

It had said that pollution problem has to be dealt with by the executive as it has the power, money and resources for this.

The Centre, which has appointed former Chief Secretary of Delhi M M Kutty as the chairperson of the Commission, had apprised the court that there were experts from the field besides members from NGOs in the newly created Commission.

On October 29, the top court was informed by the Centre that it has come out with an ordinance on curbing pollution and it has been promulgated already.

The top court is also hearing a separate plea on air pollution and had last year even taken a suo motu note of alarming rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR where several directions have been passed with regard to stubble burning.