SC asks for compliance reports by states, Centre

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked states, including Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, to file a response stating how much they have complied with the directions given by it and the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas to curb air pollution in the national capital.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana asked the states to comply with the directions that they have not implemented hereon. It has sought responses by the governments of the respective states by Wednesday, December 2.

During the hearing, the bench also noted that with air pollution, there’s an additional problem of Covid-19, as reports of the new variant — Omnicron — emerge.

Additionally, senior advocate Vikas Singh pointed towards the ongoing construction at the Central Vista. “Larger projects of construction contribute to more pollution. Central Vista cannot be more important that the rising levels of air pollution. I can play videos how dust is coming up from the Central Vista. It cannot be more important the Court’s orders,” he said. The court has sought a response from the Centre regarding this as well.

The CJI said that the court might consider setting up an independent task force. “All intentions are good and directions are given but the implementation is zero. The only issue is to implement the directions and there is no use by imprisoning someone or charging someone. If it (implementation) is not happening, we can order an independent task force,” he was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, noted, “The gap between compliance and non-compliance needs to be bridged. We have now begun personally visiting for compliance.”

Earlier in a hearing last week, the SG had told the court of the various measures put in place to curb pollution, such as implementation of work from home. He stated that after the previous hearing, only the ban on construction activities, which was put in place till November 21, has not continued.

The Supreme Court had also directed that compensation be paid to the construction workers in Delhi amid the ban.

— with inputs from Bar and Bench

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