Registering criminal cases against farmers and labourers who burn paddy stubble and accentuate air pollution is not a solution to tackle the stubble burning issue in Punjab and other States, the Supreme Court said on Friday [In Re: Crop Burning]..A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sudhanshu Dhulia and Ahsanuddin Amanullah stated that instead of registering first information reports against offending farmers, the government should consider withholding minimum support prices (MSP) to such farmers for their crops."You will register FIRs, then withdraw. Registering FIR is not the solution actually. It has to be incentive based or even punitive measures. Like, just thinking out loud, some who burns stubble will not be given MSP next year. Carrot and stick is up to you. Farm fires must stop. Cannot be lackadaisical, Attorney. All the States are responsible. Get the Chief Secretaries and find a solution," the Court said.The Court, however, clarified that it was not advocating for a total removal of MSP on paddy. The bench was hearing a case dealing with the deteriorating air quality in Delhi and stubble burning in neighbouring States, which was said to be one of the biggest contributors to air pollution.Stubble burning refers to the practice of farmers setting fire to straw stubble which remains in fields after the harvest of grains like wheat and paddy. The stubble is burnt to prepare the fields for the next set of crops. It is the easiest and cheapest way to clear the fields but leads to a drastic dip in air quality.The Court on Friday opined that farmers are a part of the society and they have to be responsible. "Farmers are also a part of society. They have to be more responsible, and we have to be more responsive to their needs. But people cannot be made to die," the Court said.It, therefore, called upon the State authorities to talk to farmers and motivate them to give up the practice."I understand that farmers are very well organised in Punjab. Why don't you talk to the bodies? Motivate them," said Justice Amanullah..The Supreme Court had earlier this week opined that the practice of stubble burning by farmers in the northern States of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh should be stopped since it contributes significantly to air pollution in the northern region of the country, including the national capital, Delhi.Pertinently, the top court had also stated that schemes like odd-even for vehicles are mere optics, suggested that paddy cultivation should be phased out of Punjab, and directed that non-Delhi registered taxis be barred from entering the capital..During the hearing today, the bench reiterated its concerns and suggestions from the last hearing."We have to crack the whip and the Punjab government has to take responsibility. Delhi is affected. But the farmers also have to be given alternative," Justice Kaul opined. The Attorney General then pointed out that certain issues are pan-India and cannot be looked at in isolation or limited to Punjab. "In the morning, the air quality index was showing as 436," the bench remarked, in turn.When Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora stated that the odd-even scheme was going to be made applicable for taxis also, as it helps decongest roads, Justice Kaul said,"We had said it is shown to have not. We are only flagging the minimal impact. Sometimes wind comes so it helps. Some emergency measures are required. To stop the farm fires, period. Thing is, it is still happening in Punjab." Punjab Advocate General Gurminder Singh then argued that the State government has managed to reduce farm fires substantially this year, but the bench pointed out that it was still continuing.Justice Kaul called on States and farmers to be more proactive in curbing pollution.Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for an intervenor, said that it is a vote bank issue because of which governments won't act."In all political democracies, there are vote banks," Justice Kaul replied.The matter will be taken up next on November 21.