Stubble burning issue: Framing law to curb air pollution, Centre tells SC

The Court however opined that the legislation for permanent solution is something that is in the benefit of the petitioner's prayers also, Singh said the proposed law will come into effect only next year.
The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is working on bringing a new law to curb air pollution, in wake of the extremely poor air quality in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).

 

The Centre also said it is ready to present the legislation in a couple of days.

 

 “Union of India has proposed a legislation to tackle the problem, which is highlighted in the public interest litigation (PIL) and that will be placed before the Court within three to four days,” said Tushar Mehta, solicitor-general of India, representing the Union of India.

 

The apex court, therefore, decided to keep its earlier decision of October 16 in abeyance. This entailed setting up a one-man committee under former Judge M B Lokur to monitor stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. Stubble burning is a prime cause of rising air pollution in the NCR during winter.

 

“It would be appropriate for it to keep the order of October 16 in abeyance till further orders as the Union of India has proposed a legislation to tackle the problem highlighted in the PIL,” the Supreme Court said.   The court was hearing a plea filed by two environment activists calling for a complete ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and including Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasu­bramanian, is presiding over the matter.

 

Mehta told the court that as the Centre was considering bringing a legislation to tackle air pollution, a permanent body would be put in place to address these concerns, including stubble burning.

 

The apex court said the legislation to tackle the issue is a welcome step. It, however, is learnt to have said, “The only issue is that people are choking because of the pollution and this is an issue that needs to be curbed.” Petitioner’s counsel senior advocate Vikas Singh is learnt to have objected to the Centre’s submission.

 

Singh said the report by the Lokur Committee would be ready by the time the matter is taken up for hearing next.

 

The Court, however, said the legislation for a permanent solution is something that is in the benefit of the petitioner’s prayers also. Singh said the proposed law will come into effect only next year.

 

Mehta, however, said the draft law will be ready in a matter of a “few days and will be implemented immediately.”

 

The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi-NCR was in the ‘very poor’ category with the PM2.5 levels at 349, according to the SAFAR portal of the ministry of earth sciences.

 

Share of stubble burning in the PM2.5 level of NCR was 16 per cent on Monday. It was 1 per cent at the beginning of this month.



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