SC Raps Centre And Delhi Govt Over Worsening Air Quality, Asks To Consider Lockdown

The air quality in Delhi dipped to near emergency levels on Friday, with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recording an AQI of 471. It was 411 on Thursday.

The Supreme Court on Saturday suggested that the Delhi government and the Centre consider imposing a two-day lockdown in Delhi in light of the high pollution levels. While hearing a case in this matter, the court made the observations.

A bench comprising of CJI Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud, and Surya Kant said that the air quality in Delhi was in the ‘severe’ category and would further worsen over the next 2-3 days. It asked the Centre to take an emergency decision.

It said, “Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live? We will look at a long-term solution later”.

It further told the centre, “You have to look at this issue beyond politics and government. Something must happen so that in two to three days we feel better”. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General, representing the centre told the bench that the government is going to hold a meeting today and the focus will be on the emergency situation of air pollution.

In consultation with the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) the centre said in its response that the people need to be watchful till November 18. The IMD cited stubble burning as a reason for the worsening air pollution.

However, the court observed that farmers alone could not be blamed for the situation and that authorities must deal with the other causes responsible for it, including vehicular and industrial pollution.

The court also questioned the Delhi government over its decision to install smog towers and emission control projects. It asked, “This is not the Centre’s but your jurisdiction. What is happening on that front?”

Heeding to it, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting today at 5 pm. The court also directed the Centre to call an emergency meeting of all the stakeholders and posted the matter for hearing on Monday.

The air quality in Delhi dipped to near emergency levels on Friday, with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recording an AQI of 471. It was 411 on Thursday.

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