A special bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, 29 November, continued hearing the petition filed by a 17-year-old Delhi student concerning high levels of air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) and said that it might have to set up an independent task force to ensure that directions issued by it and the Central government are implemented by the concerned states.
While hearing the petition filed by Aditya Dubey, a special bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana observed that while the intentions of the Centre in issuing directions to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh might be good, “the implementation is zero".
The court’s remarks came in response to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta highlighting non-compliance by states.
Mehta stated, “We had issued these directions much in advance on our own so that we don't reach this situation. We have asked them to comply since several months and we have not taken criminal measures. Gap between compliance and non-compliance needs to be bridged”, Bar and Bench reported.
The Central government's Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR, had issued directions earlier this month to improve air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas.
These included directions to run industries on gas, closure of thermal power plants within 300 km radius of Delhi, ban on entry of trucks except those carrying essential goods, ban on diesel generators, among others.
On 25 November, Delhi Environment minister Gopal Rai had announced that following the Supreme Court's directive, a ban had been re-imposed on construction and demolition activities in Delhi.
During the previous hearing, the Court had called for a thorough statistical and scientific study and had remarked that the toxic level of pollution in the national capital was painting a negative picture of the country to the world.
Meanwhile, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh told the top court that though there was a construction ban, construction of the Central Vista is on full swing right under the nose of the Supreme Court, Bar and Bench reported.
The top court noted that they are trying to stop pollution and asked the states to file an affidavit reporting compliance by Wednesday. The SC asked the Solicitor General to file a reply on construction as well.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench.)