04/11/2019 4:58 PM IST

'This Is Not How We Can Survive': Supreme Court Slams Authorities Over Delhi Air Pollution

“Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything," the bench of the Supreme Court said as Delhi's air pollution level remains terrible.

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
A woman wearing a protective face mask waits for public bus in New Delhi. 

The Supreme Court of India on Monday, speaking about the air pollution levels in Delhi and NCR, criticised the authorities and said people were losing their precious lives because of it. 

“Can we survive in this atmosphere? This is not the way we can survive. No one is safe even inside homes; it is atrocious,” NDTV quoted Justice Arun Mishra as saying. 

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Reports said that Justices Mishra and Deepak Gupta said this was not the way people should have to live. 

PTI reported the court as saying, “Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything. Question is that every year this is happening. It cannot be done in a civilised country”.

The report said the court asked the Centre to call environmental experts and said such inaction from authorities could not be tolerated. 

The Supreme Court noted that every year the governments cried hoarse about crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh but did nothing about it. 

“Why is there unabated crop burning every year? Every year there is hue and cry. States know this but still they are not tackling this issue,” the court asked. 

The court also criticised the state governments saying they were only interested in politics.

“They are only interested in electioneering. They have no responsibility towards their own people… Everybody is interested in gimmicks and elections,” Hindustan Times quoted the bench as saying. This was, according to the report, after Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority chairperson Bhure Lal told the court that the chief secretaries of the states were personally responsible for being unable to stop stubble burning. 

According to PTI senior advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the Supreme Court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, told the court that an affidavit by the Centre said that crop burning had gone up by 7% in Punjab and was down by 17% in Haryana. 

Meanwhile, the bench said, “You are asking people to die. Your states (Punjab and Haryana) are also badly affected. Is this the administration left in Punjab and Haryana? Every year this is happening. We will fasten the liability of states and panchayats also.” 

(With PTI inputs)