The Supreme Court has re-imposed the ban on construction activity in Delhi-NCR until further orders, citing the national capital’s air quality crisis. The Delhi-NCR Commission for Air Quality Management had previously decided to withdraw the ban as of November 22, citing a small improvement in the air quality.
The ban was re-imposed by a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Surya Kant. The following order was issued by the Court:
“…as a temporary measure and until further orders, we reinstate the construction moratorium in the NCR, subject to the following two conditions:-
- Non-polluting building activities, such as plumbing, interior decoration, electrical work, and carpentry, are permitted to continue.
- The States should use the funds collected as a labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to pay wages notified under the Minimum Wages Act for the relevant categories of workers and to provide them with subsistence during the period during which construction activities are restricted.”
The Court further ordered the Central Government, the States of Delhi-NCR, and the Commission to take immediate action to address the problem.
On November 29, 2021, the subject will be listed for further review.
The order was issued in the writ petition Aditya Dubey(Minor) and others v Union of India, which was filed in order to take immediate action to improve the air quality in Delhi-NCR.
The Court had taken up the issue in the second week of November, when the air quality in Delhi-NCR had deteriorated to a serious level, and had urged the Central Government and the NCR to adopt immediate measures.
The Commission must take proactive measures based on a scientific model.
The Court pointed out that the Commission’s graded response plan calls for action “when a worsening in air quality is actually recorded.”