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POLLUTION CONTROL – State Governments shall inform the SC about the measures taken to control

M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India and Ors. IA Nos. 158128 and 158129 of 2019 and Writ Petition (C ) No. 13029 of 1985 – JANUARY 13, 2020

The Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta on January 13, 2020 made a detailed analysis on various orders passed on various dates and pronounced a final order comprising of all the details.

The issue raised in the writ petition pertains to the environmental pollution that is caused in various places and the impact which leads to a lot of suffering.

The environment is continuously being deteriorated by the people. Not only the air is being polluted, the water bodies and land is being heavily polluted by various means. In recent times, the National Capital and the National Capital Region (NCR) is highly polluted and the people living there are suffering a lot because of the air pollution caused by vehicles, industries and the other smoke emitting objects. The Court has given various orders and disposed of the application dated 29.01.2018 and ordered the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to produce a complete report by analyzing the status of air pollution in Delhi and the surrounding areas. The Court order was passed on 04.11.2019 and the following are to be done by the corporation and the other citizens.

The major pollution causing activities found in the capital and NCR region are Open dumping of garbage / industrial waste dumping, Traffic congestion, Road dust, Unpaved roads, Garbage burning, Construction and demolition
  1. The widespread stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab and the western UP and other districts has caused many ill-effects to the people and some were left to die. This has caused 40% of the pollution in the state. The State Governments have to stop the violation and the Chief Secretaries to the State are called to the Court. The Court directed the Government of NCT and various other corporations to dispose of the waste and garbage properly. Mr. Aparjita Singh, senior counsel suggested that, diesel vehicles not entering the state would reduce the air pollution.

  2. The Court directed the local administration as well as the municipal authorities including the Zonal Commissioners and the Deputy Zonal Commissioners to ensure that no activities of demolition and construction activities take place in Delhi and NCR region. Any person who is engaged in such activities can be penalized with Rs.1,00,000 for that activity and any person who burns garbage is penalized with Rs.5,000 and is liable for the Court order. The corporation also has to ensure that waste is disposed of properly.

  3. The coal-based industries are already stopped. If any one is found to have violated the same, then it amounts to the contempt of the Court.

  4. The number of vehicles used in the city should be reduced as diesel vehicles cause more pollution than the petrol and CNG vehicles. The pollution caused by vehicle approximate to 28% of the pollution.

  5. Agriculture and the related activities also cause pollution. Activities like burning of crops leads to high pollution. Therefore, the State Government should take various measures to reduce the same and provide incentives and operational costs for the farmers. Crop Residuary Management Equipment was proposed in which Rs.100 for a quintal and Rs. 2000 to 2500 per acre will be given as incentive.

  6. Various IIT experts suggested the pressure in which water should be sprinkled so that the pollution is reduced. The Court wanted the corporation to follow the same. The water bodies have become sullage and so pollution in rivers should be curbed.

  7. The state Governments and Government of NCT of Delhi should ensure that there is full time supply of electricity and no use of generators.

  8. The road plans must be improvised so that there is less traffic congestion and therefore less pollution. Effective public transport system also should be given to the people. The plan must be produced before the Court.

  9. The court has also passed orders to inform them and use various chemical technologies and techniques like nano technology, wireless censors, laser methods, etc., to control pollution. Ideas regarding installation of anti-smog towers are also implemented. Anti-smog guns, oxy furnace reduce pollution caused by minute particles.

The Court held that this is a blatant violation of Article 21- Right to life by the serious kind of pollution. The court has earlier directed the Union of India to publish a report of the High-Level Task Force so that people are aware of the action being taken. The Court wanted to act according to the Public Trust doctrine. The Court wanted the Government to initiate all the methods to control pollution at the earliest.

View/ Download the Judgment: M. C. Mehta vs. Union of India and Ors.

– Vydurya Selvi Baskaran

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