The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday ordered New Delhi governments to provide clean air and water to its residents or compensate them for unhealthy living conditions caused by the pollution.
India’s Supreme Court has “treated the right to live in pollution free environment as a part of fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.” Despite this right, India continues to be subject to some of the worst air pollution conditions measured globally.
Addressing the local governments of Punjab and Haryana, Justice Arun Mishra asked, “Who will compensate the people for the damage to their lives caused because you cannot control pollution? This is reducing the lifespan of people, will you compensate them?” Mishra further questioned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “Why should people suffer all this?”
Governments around the Delhi National Capital Region are to be held accountable for tortious conduct that have defied previous court rulings, including continued stubble burning by local companies. These state governments have been given six weeks to explain why pollutive activities have been allowed to continue.