Kill people instead of forcing them to live in gas chambers: SC
Chandigarh, November 25
Supreme Court slammed governments of Punjab and Haryana for failing to curb stubble burning despite the top court’s order. It also slammed the Centre for not taking any concrete action to improve the air quality in Delhi-NCR.
On Centre’s inaction towards improving Delhi’s air quality, the top court asked: “Why are being people forced to live in gas chambers?”
“It is better to kill them all in one go. Get explosives in 15 bags and kill them at one go. Why should people suffer all this?” the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared on behalf of the Centre.
The SC bench took cognizance of continued stubble burning in the two states and said that the life span of millions of citizens has shortened and people are “suffocating” due to pollution in Delhi-NCR.
“Can you treat people like this and let them die due to pollution?” asked the bench.
Pulling up the Punjab chief secretary first, the top court said, “You should explain why we should not impose fine on you for not being able to control your state. Despite our orders, it happened again.”
While the chief secretary tried explaining that they are trying to control it, Justice Mishra asked whether stubble burning is still happening in the state. To this, Punjab chief secretary said some instances of stubble burning are still occurring in the state.
“Look at the number of fires. We have called you for that reason. Why is it going on?” the bench asked.
“Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi…Every year its taking place…it will take place next year also if no steps are taken,” the bench added.
The Supreme Court also slammed Haryana chief secretary for failing to curb stubble burning activities in the state.
Coming down hard on both the chief secretaries, the Supreme Court bench said, “Life isn’t so cheap in India anymore. What was given [compensation] in Bhopal gas tragedy is nothing compared to what is given to victims in similar cases worldwide. The chief secretaries have no right to be in chair if they can’t serve people well.”
The top court also instructed the Centre and Delhi government to keep their differences aside and prepare a comprehensive plan within 10 days to install air-purifying towers on a permanent basis across Delhi to deal with pollution.