SC tells govts to reply to toddlers’ cracker ban plea

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2015 01:16 IST
Children celebrating Diwali with crackers in Mayur Vihar in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Sushil Kumar)

Taking note of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by three toddlers against the sale of firecrackers during Dussehra and Diwali, the Supreme Court Thursday sought the Centre and Delhi Government’s response.

The widespread use of firecrackers in Delhi — declared the most polluted city in the world by the World Health Organisation — during festivals exposes infants to diseases such as asthma and worsens their lung conditions, the petition said.

Referring to the “poisonous and cancerous” smoke and particulate matter released by bursting crackers, petitioner’s counsel and former union minister Kapil Sibal sought a direction for the authorities to come up with steps to deal with the issue.

“Some solutions are to be found. Around 40% children suffer from some kind of respiratory problems,” he argued.

In a petition filed through their fathers, Arjun Goyal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin — aged between six and 18 months — sought the top court’s intervention as authorities failed to take adequate measures to curb air and noise pollution.

Asserting their fundamental right to a clean and healthy environment under Article 21 of the Constitution, the toddlers said, “The right to breathe clean air is essential for a conducive environment for growth and development.”

They sought immediate orders restraining government agencies from issuing licences for sale of firecrackers in the Capital. “They (children) are foremost prone to lung disease, asthma, coughing, bronchitis, retarded nervous system development and cognitive impairment,” the petitioners submitted.

Though the chief justice of India HL Dattu expressed concern over the issue, the bench he headed declined to pass any interim order to restrain cracker sale.

The bench fixed October 16 for the two governments to respond. Besides, the court also issued notices to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB).

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