Delhi Air Pollution: SC Directs A Halt In Stubble Burning In Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan And Delhi

Supreme Court noted that political conflict cannot exist constantly as the problem was harming citizens' health
Stubble burning in Punjab
Stubble burning in PunjabGetty Images

The Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi governments were ordered by the Supreme Court to immediately put an end to crop burning on 7 November. It assigned the local SHO the duty of carrying out the directive while being supervised by the Chief Secretary and the DGP.

Regarding Delhi pollution, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia instructed the Punjab government, headed by the Advocate General, to cease stubble burning through coercion or inducement.

"Stubble burning is a substantial part of pollution. It must go. It is a major issue and contributor. Growing of paddy is a problem. Something has to be done immediately. This crop is also destroying the water table of the State. Minimum Support Price is leading to smuggling of grains from other states," the bench said.

The Supreme Court noted that political conflict cannot exist constantly.

"It can't be a political battle all the time and blame game...we want it to be stopped," the bench said.

The court scheduled a meeting for November 8 and requested all the parties involved to participate. “Eminent Secretary should call for a meeting tomorrow, whether physically or Zoom. All stakeholders will connect to ensure that we have a better picture and some redemption by Friday.”

Following the hearings of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate Vikas Singh, senior advocate Aparajita Singh, and others, the bench stated that in addition to stubble burning and vehicle pollution, there are several tipping points of the problem.

"The residents of Delhi are suffering because we fail to find solutions to aggravated problem in this period. This is on going for five years. It is time to do something. The matter requires immediate attention and court monitoring," the bench said.

The bench also urged the Centre to try and phase out the high dependency on paddy crops, by giving Minimum Support Prices (MSP) on alternatives like millets.

The matter has been posted for next hearing on November 10.

Meanwhile Delhi's air quality remained bad as it was in the "very poor" category on 7 November.

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