"Ban on Stubble burning will not end pollution": CJI DY Chandrachud refuses urgent hearing of plea seeking accountability for Delhi's Air pollution due to Stubble Burning

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Despite a November 4 order of the Supreme Court by a bench headed by then Chief Justice UU Lalit to list the plea on November 10, Jha said that the case did not show up in the cause list for hearing today and this is why he mentioned it before the newly appointed Chief Justice's bench

The Supreme Court today refused to consider urgent hearing of a plea seeking a ban on stubble burning in Delhi's surrounding areas.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud told the lawyer, Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha that the issue is beyond the scope of judicial interference and that imposing a ban on stubble and enforcing it against every farmer will not end pollution.

"Lets look at finding better solutions," he said, while declining his request for urgent hearing despite the court's order of agreeing to hear it today on November 4, 2022.

Jha mentioned the plea which has sought sought appointment of a “high-level committee” headed by a retired Supreme Court judge in order tackle the air-pollution crisis due to stubble burning. 

"stubble burning and farm fires from September 15 to October 31 have increased by 21% this year in Punjab shows reason for Delhi choking more this year... with Delhi's AQI falling in the "hazardous" category, citizens experience severe throat and nose infections in the capital city with Nose and throat infections jumping by 90%," Jha has contended in his petition.

It is Jha's case that the state government's of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh should be personally responsible for making sure that there is no case of stubble-burning anywhere

“Issue an order or guidelines to each and every state to take necessary measures in order to reduce the pollution including installation of smog-towers, plantation drive, affordable public transport, etc,” he has said in the plea filed in his personal capacity.

“The matter is of grave concern which requires immediate intervention of the court,” Jha's petition highlights, adding that the said situation is directly against the Right to life (Article 21) of people at large. He has stated that it is also his responsibility under fundamental duties (Article 51A), to file the petition, so to guide the country in a positive framework and avoid it from sick when due course is available.

A 17 year old college student Aditya Dubey had in 2020 filed a Public Interest Litigation regarding alarming levels of air pollution in Delhi. 

"We feel that nothing is happening and the pollution keeps increasing and only time is being wasted," the then Chief Justice NV Ramana had said during the hearing in Dubey's plea in December last year. The case has not been taken up in Supreme Court since mid-December.

Though the Supreme Court’s order last year listed construction activities, transport, coal-run power pants and nonessential industries as the main contributors to the NCR’s air pollution, the issue of sever Air quality Index continues to case havoc.