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‘We Feel Nothing Is Happening, Pollution Keeps Increasing’: CJI to Delhi Govt

‘We Feel Nothing Is Happening, Pollution Keeps Increasing’: CJI to Delhi Govt

A man walks on a road on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, December 23, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis/Files

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on December 2 came down hard on the Delhi government over its ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign to curb vehicular pollution, saying it was nothing but a popular slogan.

A special bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said the Aam Aadmi Party government had made various assurances such as work from home, lockdown and closure of schools and colleges in the previous hearings. However, despite these assurances, the children were are going to school while elders are working from home.

“Poor young boys standing in the middle of the road with banners, who is taking care of their health? Again, we’ve to say, other than the popularity slogan, what else is it?” the bench also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, referred to the affidavit and said the government had taken various measures.

“This is another cause of pollution, so many affidavits daily,” the bench then remarked.

“Is it disclosed in the affidavit how many of these young boys are on the road? For publicity? A young boy standing in the middle of the road with a banner in hand. What is this? Someone has to take care of their health,” the bench said.

In response, Singhvi said the “boys” were civil volunteers.

“We feel that nothing is happening and the pollution keeps increasing… only time is being wasted,” CJI Ramana said.

Singhvi said schools had not been closed as there was a lot of debate on loss of learning, according to NDTV, and that the option for online classes had been left open. “You are saying you left it optional. But who wants to sit at home? We also have children and grandchildren. We know the problems they have been facing since the pandemic. If you don’t take action we will take strict action tomorrow. We are giving you 24 hours,” CJI Ramana responded.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had initiated the ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign from October 21 to November 15, saying that even if 10 lakh vehicles in the city joined the campaign, the PM10 levels would fall by 1.5 tonnes and PM2.5 by 0.4 tonnes in a year.

Under the initiative, government officials from the transport department, volunteers and traffic police urge commuters to switch off their vehicles while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.

The government then extended the campaign till November 30.

(With PTI inputs)

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