The central law in work to fight against air pollution | Latest India News
The Union government will pass a new law for a permanent authority to oversee air pollution issues in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Center told the Supreme Court on Monday, urging them judges to stay an order authorizing the old trial court. Judge Madan Lokur to tackle the problem.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the new authority will have a statutory role and will have members from all states that contribute to the pollution problem in the NCR, assuring the judiciary that a bill will be shared in four days.
“The Center has taken a holistic view of the issue and has found that several ad hoc measures taken in the past have not yielded any results. Now a comprehensive law is being planned with a permanent body in which neighboring states participate, ”he said.
The submission came on a day when farm fires in Punjab and Haryana hit a new high and the capital’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continued to linger in the “very mediocre ”for the fourth day in a row, threatening to plunge into the“ serious ”as it has inevitably done at this time of year for every year since 2016.
Mehta said the new law would likely be passed as an ordinance and, although he did not give further details, a senior Environment Ministry official told HT he would focus on Delhi-NCR region.
“I will not share any details of the law or the sanctions involved, but it is a comprehensive law focused solely on the Delhi-NCR region to address the threat of air pollution from various sources. This is not an amendment to existing laws, ”said RP Gupta, secretary of the Ministry of the Environment.
The Solicitor General also reiterated a request to the highest court to suspend an Oct. 16 order designating retired Judge Lokur to oversee the farm fire issue, saying there could be points of conflict between the new authority and the one-member panel of the former judge.
Farmland fires are a major contributor to the annual air pollution crisis. Smoke from the smoldering rice fields, which are lit to prepare for the sowing of the next harvest, rises and settles over much of northern and northwestern India. Coupled with local broadcasts and dust, it has in recent years transformed cities into what the Supreme Court once called gas chambers.
The highest court accepted the Centre’s request until the next hearing date. “People are suffocating in this city. This is something the government should have curbed, not a public interest litigation (PIL) issue. We will welcome your decision if it is appropriate, ”said Chief Justice SA Bobde, who headed a bench that also included AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, who assisted the SC on environmental issues, supported the Centre’s position. “The attempts made by the Court in the past are not working. The Union government may require writing to states to take effective action [to curb stubble burning]”Salve said. The lawyer for the applicant whose plea triggered the hearing objected to the decision to put the October 16 order” on hold. “For this year, the justice of the Lokur Committee must “The law can be made operational from next year. On Thursday, the stubble burning cases in the MC Mehta case are listed. By then Judge Lokur’s report will also be ready,” he said. Vikas Singh said. The Oct. 16 ordinance required the Lokur committee to submit periodic reports. It was Singh who suggested appointing an expert committee headed by Judge Lokur, who has past experience in hearing Delhi stubble burning and pollution issues.
Experts said that if the Union government has the constitutional right to pass a law since the environment is a central issue, its implementation will need to be focused. “Although I did not see the draft and only heard what the Solicitor General told the Supreme Court, I think such a law could be binding on state governments. But the ordinances of authority to be created by law should be implemented by the state government. In the past, we have seen that statutory orders under the Air Act by the CPCB were also not implemented by state governments. Thus, the question would remain as to what action the Center can take if the state does not follow the instructions, ”Vijay Panjwani, former lawyer for the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), told the Supreme Court.
Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta also said the focus should be on applying existing mechanisms rather than creating new ones. “Air pollution has been a problem for quite a long time. Why do you need a prescription now? The Center has the power to issue directives under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act. Why does this happen in the pre-pollution season? It’s a distraction because drafting a law will take time, ”he said. Dutta added that the new law will also create several authorities.
A third expert said the new law and mechanism will have to go beyond the NCR. “What we need is a legal compliance and deterrence strategy for the whole country. Both the Graduated Response Action Plan and the Comprehensive Action Plan are notified under the Environmental Protection Act. The law does not lack power. The issue is membership, ”said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director of the Center for Science and Environment.
“There is always a need to review and update laws to keep pace with current requirements. However, this should not be used to evade or dodge the regulatory failures to reduce air pollution that have come and gone from the courts since the 1980s. At the same time, the socio-political dimensions of the pollution crisis atmospheric must be discussed and dealt with. This will happen when we have a better understanding of who bears the greatest burden of compliance. Even today, the biggest contributors to air pollution, like thermal power plants and real estate, continue to receive concessions and subsidies, ”said Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher at the Center for Policy Research.