Stunned at Uttar Pradesh Government’s claim that polluted air was coming mostly from Pakistan, Chief Justice N V Ramana flared up and demanded: "Do you want us to ban industries in Pakistan?"
At the receiving end was senior advocate Ranjeet Kumar, who was appearing for the UP government in a hearing on a petition filed by a 17-year-old Delhi student Aditya Dubey on pollution in the national capital and surrounding areas.
The senior lawyer had contended that polluted air in the plains is coming from Pakistan; UP is impacted because it is in the downward direction of the wind. His submission was intended to highlight why closure of industries in UP might not mitigate the pollution problem but rather impact sugarcane industries in the State.
The Bench, which also comprised Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, on Friday partially lifted the ban it had imposed on construction activity in the Capital, accepting the Delhi government's plea to allow such activity in the city's government hospitals. The matter was adjourned for a week and is to be taken up on December 10.
During the hearing, the top court also lamented that it has been portrayed as a villain by some sections of the media for ordering the closure of schools on account of the air pollution in Delhi. Justice Chandrachud also chipped in: "On the judicial infrastructure issue, we suggested if we can have a national body so that something constructive can be done...but what we say in court is twisted and it was stated that High Courts have to go with begging bowls…When did we say that?"
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta offered a solution for the court's predicament: "Mark Twain had said if you don't read newspapers, you are uninformed, and if you read them, then you are ill-informed."