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Imagine signal we are sending to world: SC to Centre, NCR on Delhi air pollution

SC suggested that government should act on the basis of anticipation about wind patterns and scientific models based on the air pollution levels in different seasons, instead of waiting for taking emergency steps after the air quality has become severe.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said the air quality crisis in the national capital calls for a scientific study and suggested a statistical-based model on wind patterns to take advance measures to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR before the situation deteriorates.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said that advance measures must be taken to deal with Delhi’s air quality crisis. It observed that when the weather becomes severe only then do governments take measures to control it.

“When the weather becomes severe then we take measures. These measures have to be taken in anticipation. You need to anticipate that weather is going to be severe with this wind pattern, these measures need to be taken in anticipation. The commission has to do a scientific study by having statistical models. That can happen through a statistical model for Delhi,” said the Bench.

“This is the National Capital, imagine the signal we are sending to the world. You have to predict the situation based on statistics… and take action in anticipation so that the situation does not go severe,” the Bench observed while suggesting the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region (NCR) and Adjoining areas to rely on a statistical model.

It suggested that government should act on the basis of anticipation about wind patterns and scientific models based on the air pollution levels in different seasons, instead of waiting for taking emergency steps after the air quality has become severe.

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Justice Chandrachud said, “You need to have a model for different seasons of Delhi, as you don’t have the same weather throughout. There has to be scientific analysis based on seasons of the year, causes of pollution and expected wind direction. This action has to be taken in advance. Why should Delhiites suffer from air quality which is poor or severe?”

The apex court also made it clear that it will not close the air pollution case and give final orders.

“Even though the pollution has come down, we are not going to close this matter. We are going to continue to give directions. Almost every day or every second day, we have to hear this. There may be a little less pollution now but it’s going to get serious again. Take measures for another two-three days,” the Bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre.

It added that due to the seriousness of the issue it will continue to hear this matter and posted the case for the next hearing on November 29.

Asking the Centre and state governments to continue the measures already suggested to tackle air pollution for a few more days for the next two-three days, it said that in the meantime, if the pollution level becomes 100, then some restrictions can be lifted.

On the issue of stubble burning, the Bench made it clear it “can’t micromanage” and the government should decide on fines.

The top court also asked Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh Governments about any study to show how much stubble has been removed from these States and what emission control methods have been adopted.

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The Bench observed that as a government lawyer and we judges are discussing this issue, and asked about what is the bureaucracy doing on the issue. They (officials) can go on the field, talk to farmers, involve scientists and take a decision, it suggested.

The top court also observed that the States use the thousands of crores lying with them to collect a labour cess for the welfare of construction workers who have been deprived of livelihood when the construction activities are banned.

The apex court is hearing a plea seeking a curb on the rising air pollution levels in Delhi. (ANI)

first published:Nov. 24, 2021, 5:19 p.m.

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