The Supreme Court on Friday clarified that it never asked the Delhi government to shut schools, during the hearing of a case regarding severe air pollution in the capital, rather only asked for reasons behind the change in their stand on reopening schools.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, "Do not know whether it is intentional or not. Some sections in the media tried to project, we are villains... we want closure of schools."
The bench told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, that the government told the court that it was closing schools and introducing work from home. "And, see today's newspapers," added the bench.
Singhvi said one newspaper suggested "your lordships wanted to take over the administration". The bench replied that it never used that expression and the matter was not reported correctly.
The Chief Justice told Singhvi, "You've right and freedom to condemn...We can't do that. Where did we say we were interested in taking over administration?"
The bench pointed out at the freedom of press. Singhvi replied that court reporting is different from political reporting and there should be some responsibility.
The Chief Justice replied: "After video hearing, there's no control. Who's reporting what, you don't know..."
On Thursday, the top court told the Delhi government, "You have implemented work from home for adults. So, parents work from home and children have to go to school. What's this?"
The Chief Justice said the Delhi government made several claims that they are willing to even impose lockdown and other measures to curb pollution, but all schools are open and three-year-old and four-year-old children are going to school when the air quality index is so poor.
The top court was hearing a case by a 17-year-old Delhi student Aditya Dubey raising concerns about severe air pollution in Delhi.