Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Saturday said he is not a sophisticated speaker and learnt English in Class 8.
The comment was in response to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's clarification that he was not even remotely suggesting that only farmers are responsible for air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.
"Unfortunately I am not a sophisticated speaker. This is my drawback as I learnt English in Class 8. I don't have good English for expressing words. I studied law in the English language," the chief justice told Solicitor General Mehta, who was appearing for the Centre.
"The language in which our response as lawyers is taken might send the wrong message which was not the intention," Solicitor General Mehta had said.
He said he too had learnt his English in Class 8 and studied till graduation in Gujarati medium.
"We are sailing in the same boat. My law was in English medium," Solicitor General Mehta said.
The Supreme Court has termed the rise in air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region an "emergency" and asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take immediate measures to improve air quality, suggesting steps such as stopping vehicles and clamping a lockdown in the national capital.
"We want the pollution to decrease ultimately. Nothing else," the chief justice said.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said there are other reasons for pollution such as vehicular emissions, firecrackers and dust, and singling out stubble burning is not the solution.
"Your projection is as if farmers are responsible for this pollution. Seventy per cent. First let the Delhi people be controlled. Where is the effective mechanism to control fire crackers, vehicle pollution etc?"
"We understand some per cent is stubble burning. Rest is crackers, vehicular pollution, industries, dust pollution etc. You tell us how to bring AQI levels from 500 to 200 points in Delhi. Take some immediate urgent measures like a two-day lockdown," the bench said.
The observations came while hearing a plea filed by environmental activist Aditya Dubey and law student Aman Banka, who sought directions to provide stubble-removing machines to small and marginal farmers for free.