The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned till January the public interest plea filed seeking a ban on stubble burning by Punjab and Haryana governments against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench of Chief Justice of India Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian that their Commission is working on a war footing.
The Bench said, “We don’t know what your commission is doing but people in Delhi are not happy.” In the last hearing, the Central government had sought time to submit its report on how the new ordinance against air pollution has worked so far in a few days.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh had sought the Supreme Court’s permission for oral mentioning in the stubble-burning case and had informed the court that the government has constituted a committee with four members, but the committee had done nothing and the matter is concerning public health issue and the affidavit has not been filed yet.
In October this year, the Supreme Court had appointed Justice (retired) Madan B. Lokur as head of a one-man committee to monitor/prevent stubble burning in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab, which is a major cause of pollution in Delhi-NCR region. The Court had observed that people are choking because of the pollution. The government should have taken the step itself without a PIL having been filed on the issue.
A public interest petition was filed by Aditya Dubey, a Class 12 student, seeking a direction to the Punjab and Haryana governments to ban stubble burning, which usually takes place between September and December every year, against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Solicitor General Mehta had submitted that the making of comprehensive legislation with regard to the issue is a welcome step and is being considered by the Centre.