As Smog Chokes Capital, SC Cracks Down On Punjab, Haryana And UP Governments Over Inability To Curb Stubble BurningCrop Stubble being burnt in Punjab (CIAT/Wikimedia Commons)

Cracking down on the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab for the unbridled surge in pollution across the region, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday (4 November) warned the entire State administrations of holding them accountable if even a single instance of stubble burning is reported in future, reports The Hindu.

“There cannot be a mass exodus from Delhi... People have to live in Delhi, which is the national capital. People cannot be just evacuated from here... No room inside a house is safe in Delhi. Even inside the house it is polluted. Can we survive like this? How long can we survive on air purifiers. We are losing precious years of our lives... It is writ large that various State governments, civic bodies have failed to discharge their liabilities. It is time to fix liability... This is a shocking state of affairs,” an exasperated Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said.

While directing the States to immediately stop stubble burning by farmers, the top court said that it would hold everyone from the Chief Secretary of the respective states to the Sarpanch (village head) and the local policemen responsible if the order was not implemented.

The top court has also instructed the Chief Secretaries of the three States to be present before it on Wednesday (4 November) to explain why the civic bodies in the States and the State administrations have not yet been able to curb the practice, and why they should not be penalised for the same.

Noting that 'Polluter Pays Principle', the court quipped, while also announcing a flurry of directives including a ban on the burning of garbage in open dumps, non-compliance of which would result in a penalty of Rs 5,000.

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