New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its discontent after learning that the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT Bombay) has backed out from the smog tower project to battle air pollution in Delhi, and hinted at taking contempt action against the premier institution.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and M.R. Shah said: “This is dilly-dallying tactics and violation of the order passed by this court which has already been committed at least by the IIT. We have to proceed against the IIT-Bombay as well as against the concerned persons for violating the order of this court and backing out from the basis of the order which was passed by this court.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, informed the bench that the government has not been able to enter into any agreement with IIT-Bombay and it has “now backed out”. He also said that government is discussing this project with IIT-Delhi and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
The top court observed this is not expected of such institutions to act so in relation to public interest, and it is shocking that such conduct is projected by such a public functionary. “We are not at all happy with the state of affairs. We direct that the order to be complied with forthwith, otherwise it would be taken seriously,” said the bench in its order.
The top court has listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
Mehta submitted that the government was continuously in touch with IIT-Bombay and design etc was also finalised. At this, Justice Mishra asked: “Why are you saving IIT- Bombay secretary? Why didn’t you reply to the letter by IIT-Bombay that they cannot do this and back out?”
The bench noted that IIT-Bombay is already in contempt. The top court in December 2019 had given three months to the Centre and the Delhi government to set up a smog tower pilot project in Connaught Place in New Delhi to combat the menace of air pollution in the national capital. Smog towers act as large-scale air purifiers.