Courts Update Air pollution: SC dismisses Delhi govt plea to close...

Air pollution: SC dismisses Delhi govt plea to close down 10 thermal power plants in neighbouring states

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by the Delhi government against the Centre, seeking directions for closing down 10 coal-fired thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, till they install Fuel Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) device, alleging that it is causing air pollution in Delhi.

The bench of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice R. Subhash Reddy said, “It is amusing that the State of Delhi is coming in a PIL against the Centre. Only observation that is why we are saying.”

The Court observed that Delhi Government can intervene in air pollution case pending before the Supreme Court.

The bench said it has got many questions to ask from the Delhi government and that if they ask all the questions, they don’t know which way the case will go. So, it’s better for Delhi government not to intervene in the pending matter before the Supreme Court.

The Court was hearing a Writ Petition filed in public interest by the AAP Government, seeking directions against the 10 thermal Power Plants running in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, alleging they were major contributors to the increasing pollution in the national capital, as they have not installed the new Fuel Gas De-sulphurisation (FDS) technology and the Center is increasing the deadline again and again for installation of the same.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Delhi Government, apprised the bench of the facts of the case. He submitted that air pollution in Delhi is increasing due to these power plants.

The Counsel said the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change has set new standards for controlling pollution, which was to be done by 2017. The IIT Kanpur report pointed out how pollution in Delhi was increasing due to these power plants from all sides.

There are around 13 power plants in the radius of 300 kilo metres, which bring particulate matter, a major contributor for SO2 and other deadly matters. There is a technology in place called the FGD. The power plants are major contributory factors for increasing pollution in Delhi. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has earlier informed the Supreme Court that revised schedule shall be adhered too, added Gonsalves.

Justice Navin Sinha said the notification says that it shall be adhered by 2022.

To this, Gonsalves replied, “Please see the new notification. The pollution is increasing day-by-day. They should bring the deadline closer. Now they are saying it shall be done by 2024.

“First question- if the GOI has told this Court something and done contrary, will you tell us that in a PIL?” asked the Court.

Gonsalves urged the Court to issue a notice.

The Supreme Court said, “We are not doing that, one withdraw this and tell the Court that they are doing this in the pending matter.

“We are considering whether we entertain this or not. Your case is that the CPCB has made a statement before this court and they are deviating now. You can intervene in that matter and tell the Court,” it added. The Counsel asked to record this in the order.

To this, the Court replied, “You are seeking mandamus to close down 10 power plants. Your pleadings are completely missing of that aspect. You are seeking mandamus for closure of these powers plants without mentioning in your pleadings. This is contrary to the rule of issuing Mandamus. So are you withdrawing now?”

The Counsel said, “Please give me permission to Implead in that matter.”

Justice Sinha said the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn.

The plea also sought quashing and setting aside of an order passed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to nine thermal power plants extending the deadline for installation of the Fuel Gas De sulphurization (FGD).

The plea also sought quashing and setting aside of an order passed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC), demanding/extending the timelines for complying with the emission norms by coal-based power plants.

Further it sought direction to the Power Plant Operators and Regulatory authorities- the State Pollution Control Boards and and the Central Pollution Control Board to provide Online Continuous Emission Monitoring Data (OCEMS) in public domain on their respective website. ILNS/KR/RJ/SNG

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