In a significant move to control the air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Supreme Court (SC) of India appoints a one-man panel headed by a former SC judge, Justice Madan B Lokur. As per the apex court’s directions, a wide range of powers to direct the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh rest with Lokur enabling him to take various additional measures to control stubble burning.
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice A Bobde and comprising of Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, directed the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) and the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to assist the Lokur panel in physically surveilling the areas where stubble burning is being done.
The decision for constituting a one-man panel was taken as a suggestion from a senior advocate Vikas Singh. Singh was representing a petitioner, Aditya Dubey, who raised the concerns regarding the air pollution issue and demanded that a former justice from the apex court who is well aware of the issue should see over the fight against pollution. “We, accordingly, accept the suggestion and appoint Justice Madan Lokur, a former Judge of this Court to act as the one-man Monitoring Committee to monitor the measures taken by the States to prevent stubble burning”, stated the SC bench.
Further, the Chief Justice-led bench directed the committee to submit a fortnightly report to the Supreme Court initially or as when found necessary. The apex court also directed the EPCA to provide complete assistance to the one-man committee as and when required.
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The SC added, “The object of appointing a Committee is more to facilitate and coordinate the activities of different authorities so that the problem is resolved. The different authorities created by the States/ Centre, shall also be free to carry on their own activities, without feeling muted by the appointment of the Committee”.