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SC warns against worsening Delhi air pollution; to form independent task force

The top court said it needs strict compliance with the measures issued by the Centre, the top court, and the air quality management commission.

SNS | New Delhi |

Expressing deep concern at the worsening air pollution in the capital, the Supreme Court on Monday said if the state governments do not comply with the directions issued by the Centre and the air quality management commission to curb air pollution, then it will set up a task force for the implementation of these directions.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said: “Closer to create an independent task force (as a measure to curb air pollution) …if states not taking action,”

The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said that directions have been issued and the authorities hope that all will be good. “But, on the ground, the result is zero,” it noted.

The top court directed state governments — Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana — to comply with the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR and sought compliance reports from them. The next hearing will be on Thursday.

The Chief Justice told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the Centre says it is taking steps, yet the pollution level in the capital is worsening day-by-day and also there is a looming threat of coronavirus. The Chief Justice said: “What to do?”

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the petitioner minor Aditya Dubey, contended that the ongoing construction activity in connection with the Central Vista project is also adding to the air pollution in Delhi and urged the court to issue directions to stop it. The bench asked Mehta to file an affidavit to explain what steps the government has taken to curb air pollution in the areas which fall under the central government in Delhi.

The bench queried Mehta, what is the commission, created for monitoring the air quality index in the NCR region, doing? “It is just passing on the directions (issued by the top court) to the states.”

The bench further queried Mehta about the steps being taken by the state governments to implement the directions. “Tell us which states are not complying with the directions. We will seek explanation,” said the bench.

The top court said it needs strict compliance with the measures issued by the Centre, the top court, and the air quality management commission.

The top court asked the state governments to explain the measures they have taken in connection with the menace of air pollution and scheduled the matter for further hearing on Thursday.