When authorities at Delhi’s IGI airport informed the Delhi High Court on May 27 last year about the imposition of a night curfew on runway number 29, residents of Vasant Kunj and its surrounding areas heaved a collective sigh of relief.
The residents had filed a PIL claiming they suffered round the clock due to the roaring sound of aircraft flying low over their area, while approaching landing. But nothing happened for eight months even while the complaints continued.
Next the multi-speciality Indian Spinal Injuries Hospital at Vasant Kunj filed a fresh PIL in December.
A bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah was not in the mood to take the firm denials from Delhi International Airport Limited’s lawyer Rajiv Nayar and insisted on hearing the version of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Justice Shah said: “If runway 29 is still being used during the night, it is a clear case of contempt. It means you had made a false representation before the court earlier.”
“You say by the reverse way, it is runway number 11. Whatever it is, it is the same runway. You will not touch this runway. We want a clarification in this regard,” the bench said, asking the DGCA to file an affidavit on February 3.
Residents and the hospital authorities claimed the sound from aircrafts continues to be in excess of the permissible limits fixed for residential areas and silent zones even during the night. It is a violation of the Noise Pollution (Regualtion and Control) Rules, 2000.
They contended the same runway continued to be used even during the night. But the airport authorities had claimed that they were using runway 11 at night and not 29.
Accusing the airport authorities of completely violating noise norms, the court said, “You (should) look at other countries. If there is noise pollution, their government takes care of it.”
“Here the affected had to come to the court and even after the litigation is over a year old, you have not done anything.”
DIAL’s lawyer told the court that sound barriers would be erected along the runways within the next six months.