New Delhi: In a step to contain the menace of stubble burning which chokes Delhi-NCR every year, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and Bharat Scouts and Guide to assist the one-man committee of retired apex court judge Justice Madan B Lokur.
This committee will devise steps with the help of chief secretaires to prevent stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the court is concerned by the smoke produced from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, which practically chokes Delhi-NCR.
The court wants citizens in this region should be able to breathe fresh clean air.
The top court also asked the NCC, NSS and Bharat Scouts and Guides to put the young force at the disposal of Justice Lokur to locate stubble burning incidents and then bring it to notice of authorities concerned.
The bench did not entertain the objection of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the appointment of the committee, who contended that concerned states have been already heard.
The apex court directed the court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to assist the Lokur panel to identify stubble burning incidents.
The bench emphasized the state governments should provide adequate security, infrastructure and transport to the committee. The bench asked the committee to submit report fortnightly. It observed that there needs to be some monitoring of stubble burning before it assumes unhealthy proportions.
At the beginning of the hearing senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing minor, Aditya Dubey, who moved the top court concerned over pollution caused due to stubble burning, contended that Punjab has filed an affidavit saying they have mobile based application for field officers to enable end-to-end reporting of stubble burning incidents.
Singh said “If this kind of an app is there, then why is stubble burning still continuing?”
Singh suggested that a one-man commission of Justice Lokur be appointed to devise the strategy to tackle and monitor stubble burning incidents. The Chief Justice asked Singh, “Have you sought Justice Lokur’s consent? Secondly, any force like the NCC or Bharat Scouts can be mobilised for this purpose?”
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, said EPCA is already there and it has put a gradation plan.
The Chief Justice queried, is the government giving an assurance to the court that the stubble burning issue will not go out of hand by the time court takes up this issue up after reopening of court? Bhati replied EPCA is tacking the issue.
Justice Lokur during his tenure at the top court dealt with pollution matter, which included stubble burning.