New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the Delhi government for opening schools in the backdrop of severe air pollution in the national capital. The top court said the Delhi government made work-for-home for adults, but children have to attend schools.
The Chief Justice said the ‘court will appoint an authority to oversee the government’s air pollution controlling measures’, citing severe air pollution levels in the national capital.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana asked senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, that ‘when people are working from home then why children are being forced to go to school’.
The bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said: “You have implemented work from home for adults. So, parents work from home and children have to go to school. What’s this?”
The Chief Justice said the Delhi government made several claims that they are willing to even impose lockdown and other measures to curb pollution, but all schools are open and three-year-old and four-year-old children are going to school when the air quality index is so poor.
Justice Kant pointed out that poor young boys are standing in the middle of the road, with banners, who’s taking care of their health?
Justice Kant told Singhvi: “Again we’ve to say, other than the popularity slogan what else is it?”
The Chief Justice said: “We are concerned with the implementation of our orders...we do not want affidavits.”
Singhvi pointed at dust emanating from the ongoing construction activity at the Central Vista project. The bench emphasised that it wants action to control dust pollution.
Justice Kant said: “For publicity? A young boy standing in the middle of the road with a banner in hand.” Singhvi said ‘they are civil volunteers’. Justice Kant replied that ‘somebody has to take care of their health’.
The Chief Justice noted, “You’ve created a task force you’re saying. How many task forces from the Delhi government, then Centre is creating their task force...” The hearing in the matter is in progress.
A special bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a plea by a 17-year-old Delhi student in connection with severe air pollution in the capital.