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‘Fashion to bash farmers, what happened to ban on firecrackers?’: Top quotes from SC’s hearing on Delhi’s air pollution

"We have been forced to wear masks at home also, the situation is very serious," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said.

"We realise that this situation of pollution in Delhi is like smoking 20 cigarettes a day," Senior Counsel Rahum Mehra said. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

Terming the air pollution in Delhi-NCR as an “emergency” situation, the Supreme Court on Saturday asked the Centre and Delhi government if measures such as a two-day lockdown or stopping vehicles help the situation from deteriorating further. The government must inform the apex of the measures taken to improve the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital on Monday.

Here are the top quotes from the hearing:

🔴 “Now it has become a fashion to bash the farmers whether its Delhi government or someone else. There was ban on firecrackers, what happened with that? What was the Delhi police doing,” Justice Surya Kant said.

🔴 “We have been forced to wear masks at home also, the situation is very serious,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said.

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🔴 “Some percentage of contribution is stubble burning, rest is pollution in Delhi, particularly crackers, industries, dust, etc. You tell us how immediately we can reduce AQI by 200 points. Two days’ lockdown or something? Otherwise, how will people live,” CJI said.

🔴 “We realise that this situation of pollution in Delhi is like smoking 20 cigarettes a day,” Senior Counsel Rahum Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, said.

🔴 “Are you saying farmers are the only ones responsible?…Where is the effective mechanism to control firecrackers, vehicle pollution,” the CJI said.

🔴 “Please don’t take it that government, state or centre is putting this on farmers. There’s not a remote intention of suggesting that,” Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta said.

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🔴 “You have opened all schools and now you are witnessing children and their lungs to the pollutants. This is not Central government’s but your (Delhi government’s) jurisdiction,” Justice DY Chandrachud said.

🔴 “Over the past few days, there has been a spurt in stubble burning in Punjab, the result of which we are seeing. Punjab needs to buckle up. I am not making this adversarial,” the SG said.

🔴 “You’ve to answer to the CJI’s query, how the 80 per cent of pollution in Delhi is due to causes apart from stubble burning…What’s being done for that?” Justice Suryakant said.

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🔴 “The problem of farmers is not of enforcement, but of incentivizing. If you make the incentives then why won’t a farmer switch. You cannot enforce these things,” Justice Suryakant said.

🔴 “The farmer is under compulsion to prepare the land for the next crop. Therefore, whatever mechanism you are creating, the agencies must reach out to the farmer within those many days. The monsoon was late this time. Farmers are in an anxiety to plant for the Kharif crop. So window for farmer is less,” Justice Chandrachud said.

🔴 “You have to look at this issue beyond politics and government,” the CJI added.

🔴 “The colour of political parties do not matter. It’s a joint responsibility. Every state is cooperating. They are on board. Today (there is) a little larger meeting to focus on emergency response,” the SG said.

— with inputs from Live Law, Bar and Bench

First published on: 13-11-2021 at 02:24:29 pm
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