The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its dissatisfaction with the content of debates on television, on court-connected matters, and said that TV debates are causing more air pollution than anything else.
At the beginning of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, that the Centre did not mislead the court on the exact contribution of stubble burning, 4 per cent in winters and 7 per cent in summers, and data in the report was on annual average basis. Mehta said some nasty statements were made in TV studios in connection with figures related to the stubble burning.
The bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant, however, made it clear that it has not been misled.
The bench said: "We were not misled at all. You said 10 per cent but it was pointed out in the affidavit that it was 30 to 40 per cent (in the annexure)..."
The Chief Justice said, "These kinds of criticisms keep happening. Our conscience is clear and we work for public interest..." He further added that "Debates on TV are creating more pollution than everyone else...We must focus on working out a resolution."
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, argued on Centre's figures on crop stubble burning by farmers, in connection with air pollution in the national capital.
Singhvi added that the Centre's figures on stubble burning contribution to the air pollution, says that it varies from 0 to 58 per cent. He added, "Possibly Mr Mehta has taken a four- or six-month average (to arrive at the annual figures)."
The Chief Justice said the top court is focussing on steps to bring down the air pollution, and told Singhvi not to raise the stubble burning issue again and again, and rather focus on steps the Delhi government proposes to curb air pollution.
Singhvi said: "We are not blaming anyone... both are Centre's figures."
The bench reiterated that it is not inclined to penalise the farmers and the state governments should persuade them to stop stubble burning.
The bench pointed out that nobody understands the plight of the farmers.
The top court is hearing a case filed by a 17-year-old Delhi student relating to air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas due to stubble burning.