Lawyers Told as SC Hears PIL Against Stubble Burning

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The Supreme Court, while hearing a PIL seeking a ban on stubble burning in the states neighbouring Delhi, on Thursday told the advocates in the matter that they should switch from their “big and beautiful cars” to bicycles.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said: “Some experts told us informally that air pollution is not only caused due to stubble burning, but there are many other causes too. You lawyers will also have to get down from your big, beautiful cars and ride cycles. Not motor cycles, bicycles.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, contended before the bench which also comprises Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian that the Centre has come out with a law against air pollution.

The bench said it will look at the ordinance, before passing any further orders in the matter.

“The petitioners should also go through the ordinance,” said the Chief Justice, also telling senior advocate Vikas Singh, who is representing the petitioner, who is a minor, that the court will ask the Solicitor General to consider the steps he is suggesting.

In a lighter vein, the Chief Justice told Mehta, that if people involved in the petition were to fall sick, “then we will hold you responsible”. “Make sure nobody falls sick of this air pollution,” he quipped.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench fixed the matter for further hearing on Friday next week.

Earlier this week, the Solicitor General, during the hearing of a PIL seeking ban on stubble burning, had informed the Supreme Court that the Centre will enact a law to combat the menace of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, and urged the court to keep in abeyance its order appointing a one-man panel of former apex court judge Justice Madan B Lokur to monitor steps to contain stubble burning.

According to the ordinance, a Commission for Air Quality Management will be set up for the National Capital Region and adjoining areas in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“Any non-compliance of this Ordinance, and rules made there under or any other order or direction issued by the Commission shall be an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to five years or with fine which may extend up to one crore rupees or with both,” said the ordinance.


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