Recently, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud declined to assign an immediate date on the PIL filed by Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, demanding fresh guidelines on stubble burning and other steps to curb rising air pollution.
It was mentioned before the bench of the CJI that his petition for issuing directives was supposed to be heard on 10 November, but the same was not respected.
Justice Chandrachud enquired as to what solution does the advocate propose for containing the pollution — Jha responded that he wants a ban to be imposed on stubble burning.
Thereafter, Justice Chandrachud said, 'you think we if ban it, pollution is going to stop'. He added, “Can we enforce such a ban against every farmer across Punjab and Uttar Pradesh? Let’s have some genuine solutions. There are some things that courts can do and some things that they cannot and then there are some things courts are not judicially equipped to do.”
To this Jha responded that the court should take up the case for detailed hearing, but the same was rejected and the bench said that the case would not be taken up immediately.
Previously, the petition was listed before former CJI U U Lalit, who fixed the date as 10 November and remarked that the matter requires urgent intervention.
In the petition, Jha has highlighted that the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the Delhi-NCR region crossed the 500 mark.
AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, from 51 to 100 “satisfactory”, 101 to 200 “moderate”, 201 to 300 “poor”, 301 to 400 “very poor”, and 401 to 500 “severe”.
As per the data, Punjab has reported around 36,761 stubble fires between 15 September and 10 November.
It has been submitted that the state of Punjab has failed to take necessary steps to stop stubble burning which is the sole reason behind a thick layer of pungent smog in the NCR region.
Jha sought fresh guidelines for the state to control the menace of stubble burning and formation of a panel under a retired Supreme Court Judge to tackle pollution.
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