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As new panel begins functioning, SC to Centre: Ensure there is no smog in city

As new panel begins functioning, SC to Centre: Ensure there is no smog in city
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New Delhi: As the newly-formed Commission for Air Quality Management (AQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas started operating from Friday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to ensure there is no smog in the NCR. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian thus posted the pleas related to air pollution here for hearing after the Diwali vacation.

The Centre on Thursday night appointed former Delhi Chief Secretary MM Kutty as the Chairperson of the Commission, which will supersede the now-disbanded Supreme Court-mandated EPCA.

While referring to the recent ordinance on Air Pollution, S-G Mehta, appearing for the Centre said that he would place it on record. The bench told the S-G that he may place it on record but the court will hear the matter after Diwali vacation.

"The only thing is that you ensure that there is no smog in the city. We are not concerned with commission. There are many commissions and many brains are working but just ensure that there is no smog in the city," the bench said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for petitioner Aditya Dubey, said the chairman of the commission is a bureaucrat and it could have been a retired judge of the HC. He also highlighted that it had no one from the Union Health ministry and that the fine and imprisonment does not come with a classification of offences.

The bench first said the Commission will be able to talk to any and all experts from the country and added that the offences are non-cognizable anyway, to which Singh argued they were.

Singh added that the situation today is almost of a public health emergency and something drastic needs to be done.

The bench said: "We are a court of law. This is a problem which has to be dealt with by the executive. They have the money, the power and the resources for this. We are not abdicating our responsibility or functions but understand this, we have some limitations."

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