The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it is a question of life and death of crores of people in Delhi-NCR region, which is facing severe air pollution, and the authorities have to be held responsible for its failure to curb it.
'Can you permit people to die like this due to pollution? Can you permit the country to go back by 100 years,' observed a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.
'We have to make the government responsible for this,' the bench said and asked, 'Why can't the government machinery stop stubble burning?'
Coming down heavily on state governments, the top court said that if they don't bother about people, they have no right to be in power.
'You (states) have forgotten the concept of welfare government. They are not bothered about poor people. This is very unfortunate,' said the bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta.
It also questioned as to why the state governments cannot collect and purchase stubble from farmers.
'We expect more from democratic government of the country to deal with the issue of stubble burning and curb pollution,' the bench said, adding that 'it is a question of life and death of crores of people. We have to make the government responsible for this.'