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Delhi air pollution: Supreme Court allows air quality commission to examine pleas of industries to restart work halted due to falling AQI

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh submitted that there was an improvement in the air quality. To the amusement of the Bench, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta enquired, “He is saying this on behalf Aditya Dubey, the petitioner or builders' association?”

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The Supreme Court on Friday has directed the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to examine the representation of various industries and organizations for relaxation of the conditions imposed by virtue of the Apex Court’s previous order, while directing Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to comply with the court’s order in clearing wages of construction workers who were not paid due to the ban on construction. 

A Division Bench of Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant was hearing a petition preferred by Aditya Dubey, a 17-year-old student from Delhi who had approached the Apex Court aggrieved by the deteriorating air quality in Delhi & NCR.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh submitted that there was an improvement in the air quality. To the amusement of the Bench, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta enquired, “He is saying this on behalf Aditya Dubey, the petitioner or builders’ association?”

CJI Ramana stated that no relaxations would be granted by the court as the situation was gradually improving and assured the intervenors that slowly as the situation improves, relaxations will be provided by the CAQM.

All the IAs have to be placed before the commission barring the ones filed by Advocate Trehan and Advocate Manish Kumar related to wages to be paid to construction workers and long-term measures to deal with air pollution respectively. The commission has been granted liberty to grant exemption wherever it deems fit.

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Previously, Rajesh Kumar, Director, Commission for Air quality had filed an affidavit stating:

  • Constitution of Enforcement Task Force and empowering the Enforcement Task Force to exercise powers of taking punitive and preventive measures against non-compliant/defaulting persons/ entities.
  • Increase in the number of flying squads to 40 within 24 hours, which have been operational since December 2 conducting surprise checks.
  • Industrial Operations in NCR not running on PNG or cleaner  gases would be allowed to function 8 hours a day on weekdays and have been barred from functioning on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Out of 11 thermal power plants within the radius of 300 Kilometer of Delhi, only 5 have been permitted to be operational till at least December 15. 
  • All Schools and Colleges in NCR shall remained closed till further orders, allowing only virtual classes, except for purpose of conducting examinations and lab practical etc.
  • Entry of Trucks in Delhi shall not be permitted except for CNG, Electric Trucks and Trucks carrying essential commodities.

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