NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday kept in abeyance its order appointing former apex court judge Justice M B Lokur as the head a one-man commission on stubble burning after the Centre informed that it would create a permanent body on air pollution by enacting a law within three to four days.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde agreed to put on hold the execution of its October 16 order after solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the court about the Centre’s proposal to create a permanent body by enacting a law to tackle stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
The pollution this year in the NCR is a matter of more concern, with experts saying it could lead to a spike in the Covid-19 infections.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a student, Aditya Dubey, complaining that despite assurances given by the three states last year to curb stubble burning, NASA images showed there were five times more farm fires than during the same period last year.
During the hearing, Mehta told the bench, “The government has taken a holistic view and is considering bringing a legislation on the issue specifically to deal with the problem of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, which will put a permanent body in place with participants from all affected areas.”
He did not elaborate on the framework of the proposed law, but admitted that stubble bur ning mus t be curbed on a war footing. The CJI called it a welcome step.
“This is something that the government should have acted on. This is not a matter for PIL. The only issue is that people are choking because of the pollution,” the CJI said. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, opposed Mehta’s suggestion to put the commission on hold.
But Mehta assured the bench that the law will be comprehensive and enforced immediately. Just before Dussehra break, the court had appointed Justice Lokur to monitor and prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and UP. The court has slated further hearing on October 29.
Worried about the toxic air
The SC order of October 16 had raised concern over the worsening air quality in Delhi-NCR and appointed one man panel of Justice (retd) M B Lokur to monitor the steps taken to prevent stubble burning, brushing aside objections of the Centre, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.