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Sleep a fundamental right of citizens: HC

The Delhi high court on Tuesday termed sound sleep as a fundamental right of citizens.

delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2012 23:35 IST
Harish V Nair

The Delhi high court on Tuesday termed sound sleep as a fundamental right of citizens.

The observation came while hearing a two-year-old petition by the residents of Vasant Kunj and surrounding areas, seeking a solution to noise pollution caused by landing of planes at the IGI airport's third runway.

Chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Sanjiv Khanna on Tuesday heard an audio-visual plea by the residents of Vasant Kunj, Masudpur and Rangpuri. The court also heard the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and Airport Authority of India (AAI).

While Chetna, an NGO, played audio recordings of the noise of aircraft landing during a special hearing, DIAL and AAI presented a video recording of measures they proposed to take to reduce sound levels based on "data-basis expertise and international parameters".

The DIAL and DGCA assured steps like installation of sound barriers, banning of aircraft manufactured prior to 1970, extending the landing spot, releasing of landing wheels on a higher altitude at a much further distance and restoration of night curfew (banning of landing and take-off between 10pm and 6am).

Additional solicitor general AS Chandhiok assured the court that an expert committee was looking into all the issues. The court has sought a detailed affidavit to be filed by May 25.

The civil aviation ministry has also been asked to look into objections raised by Anil Sood, president of Chetna.

While seeking an audio-visual presentation, the Bench said "every citizen has a right to sleep peacefully in night and no noise shall disturb his/her sound sleep. The concept of sound sleep is associated with sound health, which is an inseparable facet of Article 21 of the Constitution. We hope the respondent authorities while conceiving the idea to mitigate noise pollution in the backdrop of international parameters shall also keep in mind the facets of Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution".

The residents contended that noise was beyond permissible limit fixed for residential areas and also violated the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

Residents said the area was a protected 'silent zone' with over 20 senior secondary schools, research centers, the Nuclear Science Centre, nursing homes in the vicinity.