The top court also asked the Centre to suggest “drastic measures” to deal with the emergent air pollution situation in Delhi.
The Court directed the Centre to call for an emergency meeting tomorrow and discuss the areas which it indicated to discuss the implementation.
Here are the key observations made by the Supreme Court:
What the Supreme Court told the Centre:
*Hue and cry over farmers’ stubble burning is without any scientific and factual basis.
*Stubble burning is not a major issue, city-related issues are there. The cat is out of the bag, the farmers’ stubble burning contributes to only 4 per cent of the pollution as per the chart. So we are targeting something which is totally insignificant.
*We direct the government of India to a call for an emergency meeting tomorrow and discuss the areas which we indicated and what orders they can pass to effectively control air pollution.
* The major culprits of pollution are construction activity, industry, tansport, power and vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some parts. Even though some decisions were taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act has not indicated precisely what steps they are going to take to control factors that are causing air pollution.
*So far, as stubble burning is concerned, broadly affidavits state that their contribution is not so much except for two months. However, at present a good amount of stubble burning is taking place in Haryana and Punjab.
*We direct the government of India, NCR states to examine introducing work from home for employees.
*The top court also expressed displeasure over the earlier emergency meeting and said: “This is not the way we expected an executive emergency meeting will be held. It is unfortunate that we have to set the agenda. The sum and substance is construction, power, transport, dust and stubble burning are the issues. Ask the committee created and decide how to implement the action plan by tomorrow evening.”
*SC directed the concerned secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and Delhi to attend the meeting to make their submissions before the committee formed by it.
What the Supreme Court told Delhi government:
*When senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana that it has deployed 69 mechanical road sweeper machines to clean the dust from the roads, it asked, “Are these machines sufficient for entire Delhi?”
*Mehra said Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is the one that sees all this as it’s an independent and autonomous body.
*The bench took exception to this and said, “You’ are passing the buck to MCD again”.
*”These kind of lame excuses will compel us to find out and hold an audit inquiry into total revenue you are collecting and spending on popularity slogans instead of looking after people,” the bench said.
*SC asked Delhi government why only 69 mechanised sweeping machines to clean the roads allowing the dust pollution to continue to be a major source of pollution.
*SG said experts are on the job and if needed a lockdown would be declared if the air quality turns for the worse. Prior to that trucks entry into Delhi will be banned and the thermal power stations would be asked to stop operating till the situation improves.