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SC asks air quality commission to decide on lifting construction ban, industrial restrictions

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The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas to take a decision on relaxing ban on construction activities and restrictions on industrial activities, after examining representation of various bodies.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said: “We direct the commission to examine requests of various industries and organisations about relaxation of conditions imposed by virtue of our orders or otherwise as per their circulars.” The bench further added that the commission in consultation with various state governments will look into these matters in a weeks’ time.

With this direction, the top court also disposed of the intervention applications filed by builders’ forum, operators of sugar industries, rice and paper mills, etc., The bench asked them to approach the commission with their grievances.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the rice manufacturers, submitted before the bench that they had made a representation in the first week of December seeking relaxation, but the commission has not decided it yet.

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The bench responded that till now there was no question of relaxation. “We are all in Delhi, we all know the condition, just now it started improving,” said the Chief Justice.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, contended before the bench that the government has given a list of 26 hospitals (in connection with construction activity), but court only mentioned seven in its order. The bench said: “Let the commission examine”.

The top court also directed the state governments to file affidavits showing compliance with the order in connection with the payment of minimum wages to labourers during the period of construction ban.

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