New Delhi: The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will soon be bringing a comprehensive legislation to deal with the recurring annual problem of stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh that leads to an alarming increase in air pollution in Delhi and the larger National Capital Region.
Describing the proposed move by the Centre as a “welcome step”, Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde, heading a bench also comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian, put in abeyance its October 16 order setting up a one-man committee of former Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan B. Lokur, to monitor steps taken by the Punjab, Haryana and UP governments to discourage stubble burning in their states.
Appreciating the move by the government, CJI Bobde said that this is something that the government should have acted on, without requiring a PIL, as people are choking because of pollution.
At the outset of the hearing, seeking to keep in abeyance the functioning of the Justice Lokur committee, solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the court that the Central government has proposed to bring in a comprehensive law to tackle the high level of air pollution and stubble burning. He informed the court that government will shortly issue an ordinance that will put in place a nodal body to regulate and monitor stubble burning in NCR. The nodal body will have representatives from all the affected areas.
Senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner Aditya Dubey – a minor – told the court that the proposed law will come into effect next year.
At earlier hearings, appointment of the Justice Lokur committee was opposed by the Centre. Its resistance was rooted in Justice Lokur addressing a number of seminars and writing articles on free speech and the importance of dissent in democracy.