A Special Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court of India while hearing the case relating to the acute problem of air pollution in Delhi and North India passed the order of completely lifting the restrictions earlier imposed on construction activities in Delhi.
Last year, the Court had imposed a moratorium on all construction and demolition activities in light of the acute problem of air pollution that had engulfed the Delhi NCR region as well as its adjoining areas. In December, however, the Court had partially lifted its ban and allowed construction activity to be started in Delhi NCR between 6 AM and 6 PM. The night time ban on such activities, however, remained. On Friday, however, the Court directed the recall of its December 9, 2019 order, thereby allowing the resumption of construction activities in Delhi at any time of the day.
The bench, which was hearing an application filed by the India Trade Promotion Organisation, lifted the ban which paved way for construction activity during the night time in Delhi-NCR. The top court had earlier asked all the states to explain as to why they should not be made liable to pay compensation to persons affected by bad air quality saying it is their bounden duty to provide basic civic amenities, clean air and drinking water to citizens.
- Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, told the bench that ban should be completely lifted as it has served its purpose.
- The bench also issued notice to the Delhi government seeking its response on a separate application which said that despite the ban imposed by the Apex Court, garbage burning was still going on here.
- Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, told the bench that Delhi government has given them plot for installation of smog towers at Connaught Place and Anand Vihar here and the work has also been allotted.
- The bench asked the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to file affidavits regarding compliance of the directions given by the court in its orders passed earlier regarding measures including on curbing pollution, stubble and garbage burning.
- The same Bench had earlier also directed the States of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to form a high-level committee to look into the problem of air pollution that was making Delhi “worse than narak” to live in.
The Court had issued notices to all states seeking various details, including on air quality index (AQI), managing air quality and disposing of garbage. The bench on Friday asked all the states to file their compliance affidavits in this regard before the next date of hearing. The bench has posted the matter for hearing on February 28. The Court had now directed the recall of its December 9, 2019 order, thereby allowing the resumption of construction activities in Delhi at any time of the day.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje