Supreme Court imposes Rs 2 lakh fine on Environment Ministry
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the Environment Ministry for not fixing emission norms of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide for 34 categories of industries -- important to mitigate air pollution in Delhi and the NCR.
Imposing the fine, the apex court also banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The court, in its May 2 order, recorded the submission by amicus curiae that Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan would not object if the court prohibits the use of pet coke and furnace oil in their areas coming in NCR, said Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.
The emission norms are significant as these industries, engaged in producing fertilisers, nitric acid and other hazardous activities, use pet coke and furnace oil.
Describing the Ministry of Environment and Forests' delay in issuing the norms as "lethargic and lazy", the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta took exception to the Ministry issuing draft norms on October 23.
The court said failure to pay Rs 2 lakh would invite serious consequences. The court also expressed its "surprise" that the Ministry was sitting on the recommendations of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) made on June 27.
The draft norms issued on October 23 provide for 60 days for the public to raise objections. Thereafter, the Ministry will examine the objections before taking the final call on fixing the emission norms.
The apex court in its May 2 order had directed the central government and the CPCB to fix SO2 (sulphur dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) standards 34 categories of industries in view of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
The CPCB in its affidavit to the court on Tuesday said the emission norms for SO2 and NOx for nine categories of industries had already been notified.
These industries include thermal power plants (in 2015), Dye and Dye Intermediate (2010), Cement (2016), Copper, Lead or Zinc Smelter (2011), Iron and Steel (2012), Coke oven (covered under Iron and Steel sector) (2012), Sulphuric Acid (2008), Petrochemicals (2012) and Pesticides (2011).
Asking the central government to fix the emission norms by June 30, 2017, the court had by its May 2 order had said the emission norms would be fixed after hearing a limited number of authorised representatives of the said industries.