The Supreme Court has suspended the appointment of former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur to a one-man committee to monitor stubble burning after the Centre gave an assurance that it will create a permanent body through legislation to battle air pollution and stubble burning in Delhi and its neighboring states.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Court of the Centre’s intention to do so. He said that through the legislation, a permanent body would be put in place to address concerns related to stubble burning. The law is for “Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.”
The draft law under consideration would be placed before Court within a period of a few days, Mehta assured the Court. He thus urged the Court to keep its October 16 order in abeyance.
The issue of stubble burning was highlighted by a 3rd-year law student, Aman Banka, and a Class XII student, Aditya Dubey through a petition filed by them seeking directions to ban stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, which causes massive air pollution in the national capital in winters.
“We welcome the step by the Union of India to propose a permanent body for controlling stubble burning and annual air pollution in Delhi NCR. We just hope that govt will come with some viable comprehensive law within 3-4 days and save the Delhiites to intake this hazardous air,” said Aman Banka.
“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.
“We welcome the assurance of the Union Government that it will enact a comprehensive law within the next 2-3 days for controlling stubble fires air pollution in Delhi-NCR. The law will hopefully bring a permanent resolution to this problem of stubble burning and the pollution problems being faced by the citizens of northern India due to this annual problem. Band-aid solutions over the last few years have not really worked our objective of approaching the court was to bring a permanent resolution to this problem and enactment of a law on this issue is more than we could have asked for,” said Aditya Dubey.
He added, “We are grateful to the Hon’ble Supreme Court as it’s only due to the proactive stand taken by the Court on the last date of hearing on 16th October that the Central government was nudged into enacting this law. However proof of the pudding is in the eating so we will have to scrutinize the provisions in this new law before we can start celebrating this victory against stubble burning and air pollution.”