The LexGaze Weekly - STALWARTS

Justice Madan Lokur - A fearless voice amidst uncertainty

Yamika Khanna

Issue 20 | November 01, 2020

Each year the capital turns into a deathbed, choking its population on smog with the arrival of winter. One of the major reasons for such an unparalleled spike in pollution levels has been recognised as the unregulated burning of stubble by farmers of Punjab and Haryana after the harvesting season. In order to prevent the national capital from turning into a smokehouse, the Supreme Court in response to a petition filed to regulate stubble burning has appointed a one member committee consisting of Hon’ble Justice Madan Lokur.

Justice Lokur is a former acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Gauhati and Andhra Pradesh and was subsequently elevated as a judge at the Supreme Court. He was appointed as a one-man committee to suggest improvements in the working of the homes and organization under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection and Children) Act, 2000 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007.

The Supreme Court recently appointed a one-man Committee of Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur to monitor and take steps to prevent stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana & Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court further stated that "We trust that the authorities in charge shall place them at the disposal of the "Lokur Committee" for this purpose. In addition, we direct that the teams already in existence in Punjab & Haryana meant for preventing stubble burning shall report to and take instructions from the Lokur Committee. We direct that the States shall provide adequate facilities to the Committee for carrying out its job including secretarial assistance and transportation if necessary".

The Supreme Court after objection by the Central Government kept the order passed by it on October 16 to appoint Justice(Retired) Madan B Lokur, former Supreme Court judge, as a one-man panel to coordinate and monitor the steps taken to tackle the problem of stubble-burning in abeyance.

It is speculated by certain groups that the government had reservations with regards to the committee due to the fierce nature of Justice Lokur post his retirement as a Supreme Court Judge. Justice Lokur has been fiercely vocal in criticizing the Supreme Court on many issues such as the handling of the migrant crisis and the  delay in hearing of important constitutional cases. Lastly, he expressed disapproval of the Supreme Court punishing Advocate Prashant Bhushan for contempt of court  , expressed his concerns at the increasing use of sedition law, UAPA and preventive detention against dissidents of the government.

It will be interesting to see how the chain of events will  unfold in the near future and whether  Justice Lokur will  be successful   in leading this one member committee and make changes that would affirmatively impact the lives of every individual  residing in  Delhi.

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