The pollution in Delhi and other major Indian cities came as alarming news for India in 2015, and what followed was a heated debate over figuring out ways to curb the rising pollution.
While measures to reduce air pollution ranged from a green tax on commercial vehicles entering the city to banning sale and registration of diesel cars, the judiciary has been active in expressing its concern over the matter, and has time and again pulled up all parties.
As the Supreme Court today slammed Toyota and Mercedes, which were seeking revocation of the ban on their vehicle, saying, “Are your vehicles emitting oxygen?”, here are some of the most animated statements that judges have made while giving their decisions on various policies.
1. While describing the extent of pollution in Delhi, a High court bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva pointed out that,
“Pollution in Delhi is ‘terrible’ and ‘out of control'” and “We too are victims of air pollution in Delhi.”
2. Responding to a PIL against the Odd Even Scheme in its early stages, a High Court bench of Justices G Rohini and Jayant Nath said,
“It is just a proposal… if you doing it for the sake of public interest, come after two weeks,”
3. When the High Court decided to pull up Ola Cabs for flouting all rules and operating despite an order against diesel based commercial vehicles in Delhi, it said,
“I was initially thinking that I shouldn’t ban you, but if you insist on plying without (following) rules then I will have to ban you… you have gone haywire. You are not agreeing to any conditions… your clients are taking the court for a ride. This is not an Ola cab, this is the court.”
4. Chief Justice T S Thakur decided to point out the lack of policy on part of the government to tackle pollution, and made these statements in the Supreme Court.
“Delhi has earned a bad name that it is the most polluted city. Last week, a Judge came from International Court of Justice to Delhi. It is very embarrassing for us to tell him that this is the level of pollution in Delhi.”
5. Expressing concern over the rising pollution in the city, former CJI H L Dattu cited the example of his grandson who was asked to wear a mask to school.
“When I asked him why he wore it, he said his school asked him to wear it. He looks like a Ninja with the mask.”
6. After pulling up the government, Chief Justice T S Thakur lashed out at car company owners while banning registration of diesel vehicles over 2000cc till March.
“People’s life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars.”
7. Suggesting an initiative to set an example for the public to follow the Odd Even scheme, Justice Thakur announced that he will also car pool with colleagues, a statement which was praised by CM Arvind Kejriwal.
“I have Justice A K Sikri residing very close to my house. I can take a lift in his car to the court and he can come with me the next day if our vehicle numbers are odd and even.”
As the battle for saving Delhi from pollution is gaining momentum, the active role of the judiciary in preventing any hindrance to counter measures is definitely good news.