SC appoints former justice Lokur to monitor steps to prevent stubble burning1 min read . Updated: 16 Oct 2020, 02:50 PM IST
- The past few days have seen Delhi’s air quality worsen as farmers in adjoining states burn crop stubble to clear fields ahead of the winter sowing season. The Air Quality Index was as high as 366 in some parts of Delhi on Thursday
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former justice Madan B Lokur to monitor steps taken to prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh amid rising levels of pollution in the national capital and adjoining regions.
The order was passed by an apex court bench headed by Justice SA Bobde while hearing a PIL filed by two environmental activities seeking directions to ensure the implementation of the complete ban on stubble burning.
The past few days have seen Delhi’s air quality worsen as farmers in neighbouring states burn crop stubble to clear fields ahead of the winter sowing season. The Air Quality Index was as high as 366 in some parts of Delhi on Thursday.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioners, apprised the bench that stubble burning instances have seen an increase of five times this year. He suggested the appointment of retired Justice Lokur to head a committee to monitor the preventive steps being taken.
As many as 2,873 incidents of stubble burning were reported between 21 September and 12 October, up from 755 a year ago.
Chief Justice Bobde while pronouncing the order observed that the court has been apprised of the steps taken by Punjab and Haryana for preventing stubble burning. “Inspite of such measures, there are reported increase in stubble burning which will pollute atmosphere of NCR inevitably. We are not inclined to make an assessment of which measure has been effective or not. We are confident that each measure has been taken by authorities with intention of alleviating pollution."
“We are concerned that citizen of Delhi and NCR should breathe good, clean air," the bench comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said.
The bench also directed court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to help the Lokur panel with physical surveillance of fields to check instances of stubble burning and other related matters.
"The concerned state governments will provide secretarial, security and financial facilities to this committee. The committee will submit its report to the Supreme Court in 15 days," the court said.
It has also directed that the National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme and Bharat Scouts be deployed to assist the panel.
The case will be next heard on October 26.