‘The reality has come to the fore’ The Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi government on pollution

New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi government over its affidavit citing reasons for rising air pollution in the national capital.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the central government cited a scientific study that stubble burning accounts for only 4 per cent (PM 2.5) of Delhi’s air pollution (PM 2.5) in winter and 7 per cent in summer.

Responding to the affidavit, Justice DY Chandrachud remarked, “Actually, now that the cat has come out of the bag (the reality has come to the fore), farmers burning stubble causes 4 per cent pollution as per the charts. That’s why we are targeting something that is completely unimportant.”

The top court said the Delhi government’s affidavit holding stubble burning responsible for the level of air pollution in the national capital was without factual basis.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said, “Do you agree in principle that stubble burning is not a major cause of air pollution.”

Meanwhile, Chief Justice NV Ramana said, “While stubble burning is not the main reason, there is a lot of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana. We request the state governments to stop burning stubble by farmers for a week.”

The three-judge bench concluded that industrial activity, power generation, vehicular traffic and construction are major contributors to the deteriorating air quality, while stubble burning is a minor contributor.

Posting the matter on Wednesday, the Supreme Court advised the central and state governments to consider working from home for their employees in and around Delhi.

(with agency input)

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