SC tells Centre: Better finish people with explosives

Updated: 26 November, 2019 13:40 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

The apex court raps states, asks them why they should not be made liable to compensate people for bad air quality; also speaks on water pollution

Tourists wear anti-pollution masks amid heavy smog in New Delhi. File pic
Tourists wear anti-pollution masks amid heavy smog in New Delhi. File pic

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday asked all the states to explain within six weeks as to why they should not be made liable to pay compensation to persons affected by bad air quality saying it is their bounden duty to provide basic civic amenities, clean air and drinking water to citizens.

The apex court also issued notices to all states seeking various details, including on air quality index (AQI), managing air quality and disposing of garbage. It took serious note of water pollution and asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and other concerned states and their pollution control boards to place before it data on tackling the issue of pollution, sewage and garbage disposal in rivers, including Ganga and Yamuna.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta asked the Centre and the Delhi government to sit together and take decision within 10 days with regard to installation of smog towers in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) which would help in combating air pollution.

The bench said that "right to life of human is being endangered" by the bad air quality and water pollution. The apex court said that living in the national capital is "worse than Narak (hell)" as air quality is deteriorating year after year and now water pollution has also gone up.

'Alarming situation'
It termed as "alarming" the situation of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and said despite its order prohibiting it, burning of crop residues in these states have increased. The bench said "not only the state machinery is responsible but farmers are also responsible for this". "Can you treat people like this and permit them to die due to pollution," asked the bench and said life span of millions of citizens has shortened and people are "suffocating" due to pollution in Delhi-NCR.

In a gas chamber
The bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "Should this be tolerated? Is this not worst than internal war? Why people are in this gas chamber? If it is so then you better finish them with explosives. If it goes on like this then it would be better to go rather than suffer from diseases like cancer". "You open the door of your house and see the situation (of pollution). No state wants to take any measure which is anti-popular," an anguished bench said.

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First Published: 26 November, 2019 13:15 IST

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