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HomePoliticsIndiaSupreme Court pulls up Delhi govt, gives union socialist gyan

Supreme Court pulls up Delhi govt, gives union socialist gyan

Supreme Court Justice Surya Kant said since marginal farmers could not afford to buy stubble disposal machines, governments must pay for them

The today came down heavily on the union and state government of Delhi for the city’s pollution and said that blaming the farmers for poor air quality had “become a fashion”. The apex court was hearing a plea filed by environmentalist Aditya Dubey and student of law Aman Banka who sought directions to provide -removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free.

Justice Surya Kant said that since he is a farmer and Chief Justice NV Ramana hails from a farmer family, they know that poor and marginalised cultivators cannot afford machinery for management.

“You are saying 2 lakh machines are available, but the poor farmers cannot afford these machines. After the agrarian laws, the landholding in UP, Punjab and Haryana is less than 3 acres. We can’t expect those farmers to purchase those machines,” Justice Kant told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Then, prescribing a dole without explaining where the money will come from, the remarked, “Why can’t the Centre and the state governments provide the machines? Take away the stubble for use in paper mills and various other purposes. In winters, the stubble can be used for fodder for goats, etc. in Rajasthan.”

Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the top court that these machines are being made available to the farmers at an 80% subsidised rate.

The asked Mehta, appearing for the union government, whether the officials assisting him could point out the actual price after subsidy.

“Can the farmer afford it? I am a farmer and I know it, the CJI is also from a farmer family he also knows it and my brother (judge) also knows it,” Justice Kant, who was sitting as part of a special bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ramana and Justice DY Chandrachud, said.

Justice Kant asked whether other measures to curb pollution such as banning firecrackers and vehicle emission control had been implemented.

Despite clear weather department findings that pollution in Delhi could hardly be attributed to firecrackers, the targeted the Hindu community. “Be the petitioners, the Delhi government or anybody else — it has become a fashion to blame the farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? What was the Delhi police doing?” he asked.

The observations came after senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, mentioned the issue of stubble burning.

The apex court termed the rise in air pollution in Delhi-NCR an “emergency” situation. It asked the union and the Delhi government to take immediate measures to improve the air quality and suggested steps such as stopping vehicles and clamping a lockdown in the national capital.

The observation comes as air quality in Delhi continues to remain above the “severe” mark, leading to a spike in hospitalisation.

With inputs from PTI


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