Stubble burning: SC suspends earlier order appointing Justice Lokur as one-man committee
The order was “kept in abeyance” by a three-judge bench after Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta informed the court about a comprehensive law being planned by the Centre to curb stubble burningUpdated: Oct 26, 2020, 14:55 IST
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday suspended its earlier order that was issued on October 16 appointing former apex court Judge Madan B Lokur as a one-man committee to enforce strict ban on stubble burning in neighbouring states of the national capital such as Haryana, Punjab and also western Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The order was “kept in abeyance” by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, after Solicitor-General (S-G) Tushar Mehta informed the court about a comprehensive law being planned by the Centre to curb stubble burning.
“The Centre has taken a holistic view of the matter and now a comprehensive law is being planned with a permanent body with the participation of neighbouring states,” Mehta said.
He stressed that in the past the SC had taken several ad-hoc measures to control pollution by stubble burning, but those steps did not yield desired results. “We will come out with a law within three-four days,” the S-G said while requesting the court to put in abeyance the earlier order appointing Justice Lokur as the interim panel head.
“People are choking in this city (Delhi). It is something that should have been curbed by the government and not a matter to be decided in a public interest litigation (PIL). We will welcome the law, if it is appropriate,” the bench said.
Earlier, senior advocate Vikas Singh, who had appeared for the petitioner Aditya Dubey, had informed the court it would take time to put a legal mechanism in place and until then, the Lokur Committee should be allowed to operate.
The court had accepted the suggestion and decided to appoint Justice Lokur on October 16. Singh had pointed out that the matter could be taken up on Thursday, when the stubble burning cases being monitored by the apex court in the MC Mehta case would come up.
The bench agreed to post the matter on Thursday, but also suspended the October 16 order.
“There can be a conflict of perception between our committee and what the Union Government is contemplating,” CJI Bobde said.
The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said, “Having regard to the statement, we consider it appropriate that the measures adopted by this court on October 16 be kept in abeyance until further orders.”
The order was passed on the basis of a PIL by two young environment activists, who had demanded urgent orders to curb stubble burning.
The poor air quality could lead to a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) deaths, the petition had cited.