SC appoints ex-judge of apex court as one-man panel to monitor steps to prevent stubble-burning

New Delhi, Oct 16 (Agencies) : As stubble-burning continues despite its order banning it, the Supreme Court on Friday appointed former top court judge Madan B Lokur to act as a one-man monitoring committee to suggest measures to stop the farm practice that turns entire NCR into a virtual gas chamber in October-November.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi and EPCA to assist the committee in discharging its functions towards taking preventive measures. “This order is not an indictment of any agency…We are only concerned that people in Delhi-NCR must be able to breathe clean and fresh air…While the court is shut (for Dusehra) we don’t want anything to happen during these nine days,” the CJI said. The committee is required to visit the affected states and submit periodic reports to the top court on measures needed to stop stubble-burning
The Bench asked heads of National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme (NSS) and Bharat Scouts and Guides to provide young force to the panel for locating stubble-burning and bringing it to notice of authorities concerned.
The order came on a fresh petition filed by two students – Aditya Dubey and Aman Banka – who suggested that Justice Lokur could be assigned the task.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Bench that the government had reservations about appointment of the Justice Lokur committee for monitoring stubble-burning and that the EPCA was doing the job.
But the Bench clarified that it had not given any extraordinary jurisdiction to the panel and the judge’s consent had already been taken.
The top court is already seized of a PIL on air pollution in the NCR. It has been asking states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and the Centre to take measures to ensure farmers don’t indulge in stubble-burning that converts the entire Delhi-NCR into a virtual gas chamber in October-November.
Despite a ban on stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to do so because of lack of financial incentives to switch over to environment-friendly farm waste management practices.
Last year, Punjab produced around 20 million tonne paddy residue of which farmers burnt 9.8 million tonne while the figures in Haryana stood at 7 million tonne and 1.23 million tonne, respectively.
On October 6, the top court had agreed to examine a suggestion that a portion of Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be withheld from farmers and released later only after a verification that they didn’t burn the stubble.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *