The Supreme Court has appointed a One Man Committee of Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur to monitor and take steps to prevent stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
This was in response to a petition filed by a 3rd-year law student, Aman Banka, and a Class XII student, Aditya Dubey seeking directions to ban stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, which causes massive air pollution in the national capital in winters.
'The “Right To Breathe” Clean Air is an integral part of the Fundamental ‘Right to Life’: PIL
"The Supreme Court of India is the ultimate protector of our constitutional rights. Today again the Hon’ble court has performed that role exceptionally by stepping in to protect the right to breathe of millions of citizens living in Delhi and other parts of northern India by appointing a one-man committee headed by Justice Madan Lokur to control and resolve the critical problem of air pollution being caused by stubble burning and other causes," said Aditya.
“The “Right To Breathe” Clean Air is an integral part of the Fundamental ‘Right to Life’ enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the said fundamental right is being violated by the failure of the Union Government and the State Governments, to keep the air pollution levels in Delhi NCR below hazardous levels,” the PIL read.
It further added, “In the Year 2019, thousands of stubble fires were lit in Punjab and Haryana by farmers to clear their fields for next sowing season which filled the air in Delhi-NCR with Suspended Particulate Matter and resulted in the AQI levels in Delhi crossing 1000 and caused severe respirator ophthalmic and_ skin diseases amongst the citizens of Delhi-NCR and even resulted in the death of many citizens. This was a clear violation of the fundamental right to breathe of the citizens of Delhi-NCR.”
Justice Madan B Lokur best-suited person to find a solution to stubble burning: Aditya
The Court has further observed that the NCC, NSS & Bharat Scouts & Guides be deployed in the respective states for assisting in the monitoring of stubble in the agricultural areas in the states.
In this backdrop, the Court stated that states of Punjab, UP & Haryana shall provide adequate transportation to volunteers and that the Committee will submit a report fortnightly or as and when required. "All authorities including the EPCA shall report to the Committee for information sought," added the bench.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appeared for the petitioner law student and told the court that if this petition is listed with the MC Mehta matters concerning Stubble Burning on November 23, it will be too late.
The petition contended that stubble burning contributes almost 40 per cent of air pollution in Delhi.
"Hon’ble justice Madan B Lokur has always been a great proponent of environmental rights of the citizens and is the best-suited person to find a solution to this critical problem which will balance the interest of the farmers as well as citizens of Delhi-NCR. We hope and believe that the governments of Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana will now provide all assistance to the commission so that a permanent solution to this problem may be found", Aditya said.