The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on November 10 a plea seeking measures to curb worsening air pollution in Delhi-NCR. A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Bela M Trivedi posted the case for hearing on November 10 after an advocate mentioned the matter for urgent hearing.
Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, who filed the plea, told the bench that stubble burning has increased in Punjab. “Parali burning has increased in Punjab. Even normal people can’t walk in such a situation,” Jha argued.
The plea sought direction to summon Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and directed them to personally take responsibility for no case of stubble-burning anywhere. It sought direction for issuing fresh guidelines to all the States with respect to stubble burning. The plea asked to issue guidelines to each and every State to take necessary measures in order to reduce pollution including the installation of smog towers, plantation drives, affordable public transport, etc.
“Public at large is forced to inhale polluted air and the oxygen filled with smog. Despite the clear orders of this Court to stop stubble burning and construction causing air pollution, there is rampant pollution in the National Capital Territory and other places making it difficult for people to survive,” said the plea adding that the situation is directly against the Right to life of people at large. The petition said the AQI level on November 3 has been between 440 to 460 across Delhi which as per various sources “affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases”.
An AQI of 400 or higher is considered “severe,” and it can affect both healthy people and those who already have illnesses, it said. It sought direction for appointing a high-level committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge to tackle the air-pollution crisis due to stubble burning.
The plea further urged that the schools, colleges, government and private offices to go virtual/online in order to protect the life of people at large. The advocate said that the pollution is caused because states like Punjab have failed to provide an alternative to the farmers against stubble burning.to control pollution.