Lame excuses will force us to audit spending on popularity slogans: SC to Delhi on air pollution
The bench told the Delhi govt's lawyer, that 'the Delhi govt wants to accuse the farmers for stubble burning as a major contributory factor for air pollution in the capital'
The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Delhi government for making "lame excuses" in connection with air pollution in the capital.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant told senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the national capital government, that 'the Delhi government wants to accuse the farmers for stubble burning as a major contributory factor for air pollution in the capital'. It pointed out that it is an insignificant source of pollution in Delhi.
The bench, citing the Centre's affidavit, said stubble burning is only contributing 4 per cent to air pollution in winters.
According to the Centre's affidavit, stubble burning is not a major factor leading to severe air pollution level in the capital, rather the agricultural burning leads to merely 11 per cent contribution to PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration.
The bench queried Mehra, "How many machines do you have for road cleaning?"
As Mehra started making submissions, Justice Kant said: "These kind of lame excuses will force us to hold an audit of the revenue you are earning and spending on the popularity slogans."
Justice Chandrachud told Mehra, "We want some positive steps...how will you augment the number of machines..".
The bench told Mehra to refrain from passing the buck on municipal corporations, and sought a clear answer from the Delhi government on steps it proposes to take to curb air pollution.
Mehra started submissions on the measures taken towards road cleaning, and submitted that the municipal corporations may be asked to file an affidavit detailing the same. At this juncture, the bench asked him not to pass on the buck to the municipal corporation and cited that in some other matter they have learnt that they do not have money to pay salaries on time. "You want to pass on the buck to them", said the bench.
After receiving instructions, Mehra informed the bench that there are 69 machines (mechanical road sweeper machines) and added that the government will work on war footing to curb air pollution.
The top court was hearing a plea by a minor Aditya Dubey seeking directions on stubble burning which is leading to air pollution in the capital.