New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave 24 hours to the Centre to propose concrete control measures to check the worsening air pollution condition in Delhi-NCR which has witnessed high AQI levels for several weeks.
“We are giving you 24 hours’ time. We want you to take a hard look at this and come up with a solution with seriousness…We will take this up tomorrow morning for 30 minutes, we can assemble at 10 am. You update us about the steps, otherwise we will pass directions,” a Bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
“In an emergency situation, you have to work in emergent ways. Suppose the temperature goes up in fever then what can be done to control it?” the CJI said, hinting at setting up a task force if the government failed to come up with concrete measures.
“Please let me respond tomorrow and let me speak with the minister. We are not averse to this and highest functionaries are equally worried,” Mehta said.
“You cannot fire bullets from our shoulders, you have to take steps. We can’t infuse creativity in your bureaucracy…You have to come up with some steps,” said the Bench, which has been very critical of the bureaucracy for its “inaction and lack of planning and imagination” to deal with the emergency air pollution condition in Delhi-NCR.
“They do not want to take any decision. They want courts to pass orders and they are happy to implement it. It is unfortunate that bureaucracy has come to this pass,” the Bench had said on November 17.
On Thursday, the top court also pulled up the Delhi government for reopening schools and exposing children to high levels of air pollution.
On behalf of the Delhi government, senior advocate AM Singhvi submitted that it’s taking all necessary measures to check air pollution and more than 1500 old polluting vehicles were impounded in November.