Pollution: SC refuses urgent hearing of builders’ plea for resumption of construction activities in Delhi-NCR


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday refused to accord urgent hearing to a plea by builders’ body seeking vacation of November 24 order by which the ban on construction activities in Delhi and national capital region (NCR) was re-imposed to contain the spike in air pollution.

Taking note of worsening air quality, the bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had reversed the decision of the executive to allow construction activities from November 22 and had re-imposed the ban.

It, however, had permitted non-polluting activities relating to construction such as plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry.

I will not take a call now. You go to the government. Let this matter come on Friday and then we will see… Sorry, We can’t, said the bench, which also comprised justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, when senior advocate Vikas Singh said that thousands of crores of rupees are being lost by real estate firms on account of the ban and the plea should be heard urgently, either on Monday or Tuesday.

I am saying something else. The government has lifted the ban from construction activities. This ban was re-imposed by the court and not by the government, the senior lawyer said.

The plea filed by the Developers and Builders Forum, a body of more than 60 builders, contended that they use the latest construction technology so as to reduce dust pollution and adhere to the laid-down norms.

“It is most respectfully submitted that the above direction imposing a blanket ban ought to be re-visited by this court in view of the relevant data and statistics.

“That the direction is issued without taking the views of all stakeholders and without differentiating between construction activities of various nature.

“It is submitted that the present blanket ban on all construction activities takes within its sweep even small constructions of residential and other units, which can in no manner be said to be causing large-scale pollution,” the plea said.

On December 3, the last date of hearing, the bench directed the Centre and the states in the NCR to implement the orders of the Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjoining Areas to curb pollution and sought a proposal to ensure that all industrial units switch over to PNG or cleaner fuel in a time-bound manner or face closure, while ruing that some news reports tried to portray it as a “villain” that wants to close down the schools here.

The bench has been passing orders on a plea filed by Aditya Dubey seeking urgent steps to improve the air quality of Delhi-NCR. (PTI)