Asking if people’s health was “irrelevant” for the government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Centre and the Union Power Ministry for extending the deadline for thermal power plants to comply with emission norms till 2022.
“What about the health of people? Is it irrelevant?” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked the counsel appearing for the Power Ministry, adding “there is no will”. The bench termed the situation “hopeless” and added that authorities have no will to implement the norms. People had to bear the brunt of air pollution due to this, it added.
The bench said that as per a December 2015 notification, the plants were to adhere to the emission norms by December 2017. However, a fresh government affidavit said the deadline has been extended to 2022.
Expressing displeasure, Justice Lokur told the Centre’s counsel that “it seems your officers are not breathing the same air. There is no will to implement your own regulations”.
“From the affidavit, it is quite clear that the power ministry has no intention to do anything to reduce pollution… shows that even the deadline of 2022 cannot be met… It appears that the Union of India proposes to do nothing in the matter,” the bench noted.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to convene a meeting of concerned officials of the Power Ministry and file an affidavit in the court. It posted the matter for hearing on August 6.