‘TV debates causing more pollution’: SC pulls up media during hearing on Delhi's air pollution

Debates on TV news channels are causing more pollution than anybody with statements made in the court being taken out of context, the Suprem...

Debates on TV news channels are causing more pollution than anybody with statements made in the court being taken out of context, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said everyone has their own agenda and statements are taken out of context in these debates.

"You want to use some issue, make us observe and then make it controversial, and then only blame games will remain..," observed the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant.

"Debates on TV are creating more pollution than anybody. They don't understand what is happening and what is the issue. Statements are taken out of context. Everyone has their own agenda. We can't help and we can't control. We are focussing on working out the solution," it said.

The apex court's observations came while hearing a plea relating to air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas. The plea has been filed by environmental activist Aditya Dubey and law student Aman Banka, who sought directions to provide stubble-removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free.

The oral remarks came in response to the submission of senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, that stubble burning was one of the contributors of the air pollution which needs to be addressed and referred to the Centre's figures on the issue.

The apex pointed to the plight of farmers, saying that no one was concerned about what compels them to burn stubble, reported NDTV.

“People sleeping in five-star hotels in Delhi blame farmers,” the court said. “Look at such small land holdings of farmers. Can they afford the machines [to dispose of the stubble] you all talk about?

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to the television debates and said they claimed that he had misled the top court on the contribution of stubble burning to air pollution.

"I watched some irresponsible and nasty utterances on TV media against me that I misled the court on the question of stubble burning by showing that its contribution is only 4 to 7 percent. Let me clarify," SG said.

The top court, however, said: "We were not misled at all. You said 10 percent but it was pointed out in the affidavit that it was 30 to 40 percent.

"This type of criticism is bound to happen when we are holding public offices. We are clear, our conscience is clear, forget about all this. These kinds of criticisms keep happening. Our conscience is clear and we work for the betterment of society," the bench said.

The bureaucracy has developed "inertia" and does not want to take any decision, leaving it to the court to do everything, the court added, slamming it for inaction.

"It is apathy and just apathy," the apex court said.

"Over a period of time what I am observing, as a judge and an Advocate General also that the bureaucracy, completely, I think has developed some sort of inertia. They don't want to make a decision. How to stop a car, seize a vehicle, how to stop a fire has to be done by this court. Everything we have to do. This is an attitude developed by the Executive," a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said.

The Centre's meeting on the issue of air pollution took place on Tuesday, said the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, and added that can they not summarise the minutes of the meeting that these are directions we have passed so that the precious time of the court is saved.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said everyone will have to buckle up and rise to the occasion. Mehta referred to a fictional incident and said, "One king decided once that no one should sleep hungry. One horseman was sleeping, the officials woke him up and asked if he was hungry. When the horseman said yes I am hungry, he was not allowed to sleep. So no one was allowed to sleep."

The Solicitor General said his narration was on a lighter note without any ill will towards anybody.

With inputs from PTI

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