The Supreme Court on Friday appointed Justice (retd) Madan B Lokur, a former judge of the top court, to act as the one-man monitoring committee to prevent stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while hearing a plea highlighting the issue of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, said that the court is only concerned that the citizens of Delhi-NCR get to breathe clean and fresh air.
The bench said that the new committee, which will monitor the stubble burning and take preventive steps, will get assistance from chief secretaries of all states. “We have been made aware of steps by Punjab and Haryana for stopping stubble burning including the development of an app which can help in identification and notification of a particular field in which someone has burnt stubble… In spite of measures, reported an increase in stubble burning which will pollute the atmosphere of Delhi-NCR inevitably. We are not inclined to make an assessment of which measure has been effective or not,” the bench said.
The bench also asked the heads of National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, and Bharat Scouts and Guides to put the young force at Justice Lokur’s disposal to help locate stubble burning in the three states and bring it to the notice of authorities to prevent the same.
“There needs to be some monitoring of stubble burning before it assumes unhealthy proportions. Accordingly, we find that the suggestion of a former Judge of this court is appointed to monitor the situation in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh,” the bench said.
The bench, in its order, said that it considers it appropriate for the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to enable Justice Lokur in order to devise additional means and methods for preventing burning or stubble. It further said that the states shall provide adequate facilities to the committee for carrying out its job including secretarial assistance and transportation if necessary and added that the Committee will submit a report fortnightly or as and when required.
During the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh appearing for the petitioner, a class 12 student Aditya Dubey, said the prayer in the plea is that a one-man commission of Justice (retd) Madan B Lokur can be appointed because he has dealt with many environmental issues. The state agencies and Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority are not empowered and don’t have any teeth to take action, he said.
Singh further contended that let a one-man commission of Justice Madan B Lokur be appointed and let him formulate teams to tackle this for continuous monitoring and he can take assistance from NGOs or NCC for the creation of mobile teams that can monitor and identify instances of stubble burning.
The plea, which referred to a Harvard University study that air pollution may now be an important factor that aggravates a mild COVID-19 infection into an acute one, had contended that stubble burning contributes almost 40 per cent of air pollution in Delhi. It had sought directions to ban stubble burning in the states neighbouring the national capital as it cases massive air pollution in the winters. (ANI)