The Supreme Court of India today refused to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Delhi government against a Union Environment Ministry notification on power plants. The court expressed amusement over the fact that a state had filed such a petition against the Centre.
Following the Supreme Court’s observation, the state government withdrew its case.
“We find it amusing that a state has come in with a PIL against the Centre,” the court said.
PILs are usually filed by individuals or organisations when fundamental rights of the petitioner are violated. It refers to litigation aimed at securing some public interest and ensuring justice to otherwise disadvantaged people.
“If the Centre has said something or done something contrary, then you (Delhi Govt) can go and inform the court about what the Centre has done. You can file a case,” the court said, referring to Delhi’s PIL against an April 1, 2021, notification from the Union ministry.
The notification said that rules had been amended to allow thermal power plants within 10 kilometres of the National Capital Region (NCR) — and in cities with over 10 lakh population — to comply with new emission norms only by the end of 2022, a June 16 PTI report said.
Eleven coal-fired NCR power plants contributed 7 per cent to Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution on an average between October 2020 and January 2021, according to a study by Delhi-based not-for-profit Council on Energy, Environment and Water, PTI reported.
The Delhi government had said in its petition that some 10 thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh had not installed the Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) technology, resulting in pollution.
Colin Gonsalves, the Senior Advocate appearing for Delhi, argued before the Supreme Court that these plants contribute up to 80 per cent of sulphates and other “killer gases”, which contribute to pollution in Delhi.
He argued that the Centre was not interested in controlling pollution and had failed to honour its commitment to the top court. He wanted the PIL to be tagged with others pending case before the court.
The court, however, refused him. “If the Centre did not honour the commitment, then you move in the same case where the Centre gave the undertaking,” the court said.
It gave Mr Gonsalves the option of withdrawing the PIL, which he did.