The Supreme Court on Friday (October 16, 2020) appointed retired apex court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur as a one-man committee to take steps for preventing stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh which is a source of pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).
Accepting the Suggestions made in the plea by a Class XII Student Aditya Dubey to appoint a one-man committee by a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun saying that, “We just want that people of Delhi-NCR can breathe fresh air without any pollution, to prevent stubble burning and methods for preventing burning of stubble in the states”.
The Court further observed that the NCC, NSS & Bharat Scouts & Guides be deployed in the respective states for assisting in the monitoring of stubble burning in the agricultural areas in the states
We trust that the authorities in charge shall place them at the disposal of the "Lokur Committee" for this purpose. In addition, we direct that the teams already in existence in Punjab & Haryana meant for preventing stubble burning shall report to & take instructions from the Lokur Committee. We direct that the States shall provide adequate facilities to the Committee for carrying out its job including secretarial assistance and transportation if necessary" - Supreme Court
During this observation, the bench stated that the states of Punjab, UP and Haryana should provide adequate transportation to the volunteers and the committee should submit the report to the bench as and when required. The bench further added that all the authorities including EPCA will submit the report to the committee when information is asked for.
As the stubble burning season has arrived which is normally occurs between September to January, the hazardous pollution to the air of the Delhi-NCR region is an alarming situation that needs to be considered at utmost priority. The petitioners, a third-year law student Aman Banka, a Class XII Student Aditya Dubey filed the petition through Advocate Nikhil Jain highlighting to ensure the air quality index during the stubble burning season this year especially during this pandemic situation.
The Court observed all the facts and ensured that the regulatory authorities performing their responsibilities thoroughly so that the air quality index should not get polluted.
Apart from regulation of stubble burning, the Petitioners had urged the following directions be made to the Delhi Government:
- Direct that all polluting industries and construction activities in Delhi- NCR may be allowed to remain in operation only on days when the AQI level is less than 150, during the period between September 2020 to January 2021 and upon an increase above this AQI level an automatic ban on industrial and construction activities may become operational, which may continue till the AQI level comes below 150.
- Direct that in case the AQI level increases about 200 then the Odd-Even Policy of the Delhi Government with regard to vehicular traffic may automatically become operational and may continue till the AQI level drops back below 150.