‘Get 15 explosives, kill people at one go’: India’s Supreme Court rebukes Centre, states on pollution

Pollution levels in Delhi worst this year, air quality stays in very poor category. (Photo: Reuters). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Nov 25, 2019, Hindustan Times. The Supreme Court, which had ordered a complete ban on stubble burning in states around Delhi, on Monday lashed out at the Centre and the states for their failure to do anything to improve the quality of air in national capital Delhi. The judges did get an explanation of sorts from the government but quickly dismissed the stand taken by the governments, concluding that politics and blame game was standing in the way, Hindustan Times reported.

“The world is laughing at us. You are reducing the lifespan of people. Why are people being forced to live in gas chambers. Better to get explosives and kill them all in one go”, a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Arun Mishra told the Centre’s second most-senior law officer Tushar Mehta.

The bench has been angry at the inability of the government to take inadequate steps to clean up Delhi’s air quality over the last month or so. It had pulled up law officers at previous hearings and given top officers of neighbouring states such as Punjab and Haryana 10 days to get their act together and stop stubble burning in their respective states.

One of them, Haryana chief secretary told the bench that they had worked day and night to stop farmers from burning stubble. But the court noted that rather than reducing, instances of stubble burning had increased. “Why shouldn’t you compensate Delhi’ites for this,” the judges asked.

The judges weren’t impressed with the steps outlined by the Centre either.

“You people (States and Centre) are blaming each other. This is politically managed pollution. Everything is happening under the nose of this court and we should tolerate all of these. This is a blame game, nothing is being done. I am shocked,” Justice Arun Mishra.

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