Fight has just begun, says father of toddler who moved court against crackers
The Supreme Court on Friday directed suspension of licences for possessing, stocking and selling of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.delhi Updated: Nov 25, 2016 23:16 IST
Twenty seven-month-old Zoya Bhasin has been living in London with her mother and six-year-old elder brother for over a year now.
Zoya, along with two other toddlers— Arjun Gopal (18 months) and Aarav Bhandari (18 months), had moved the Supreme Court through their lawyer fathers last year, seeking its intervention to stop the use of loud firecrackers during Dussehra and Diwali.
The toddlers had asserted their right to be brought up in a pollution-free environment in their petitions.
Zoya’s father Saurabh Bhasin — a corporate lawyer based in Delhi — could not move out, and shuttles between Delhi and London.
“We had an hour-long discussion with our paediatrician, who advised us to go ahead with the move (filing of PILs),” Saurabh said.
“The air quality in Delhi was deteriorating quickly, so we had been thinking about moving out of the city for a while. A few of our friends had shifted out of Delhi for the same reason. So when my wife got an opportunity in London, she moved with Zoya,” Saurabh said.
“I keep telling people that our petition came a few years late. I let my elder child breathe in this horrible air of Delhi. This is not to say that London’s air is not polluted, but Delhi’s air is worse,” he added.
After pursuing the case relentlessly for over a year, the three toddlers on Friday managed to achieve what many activists could not in years. The Apex Court on Friday directed suspension of licences for possessing, stocking and selling of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.
“It is a big day for the city and its citizens. The directive will cut access to firecrackers, which will help in curbing its use in the long run,” said Amit Bhandari, Aarav’s father.
“It’s not that I have not burst crackers in my life. But, a few years ago, I realised Delhi as we knew it was a thing of the past. And it’s the people here who were to be blamed,” says Amit, a Supreme Court lawyer, who came to Delhi 13 years ago.
Amit’s children had started developing cough and cold every second month and their doctor blamed it on pollution.
“I remember my friends from Mumbai and how they would gush about Delhi’s green cover. Now, all they talk about is Delhi’s pollution. They avoid coming to Delhi around Diwali,” he says.
“Since we have spoilt Delhi’s air, it’s us who need to make it better too. This court verdict is a step in that direction. The issue is not about just these three kids, but deals with a larger issue at hand. It’s just the beginning and we have other problems such as crop burning to deal with,” Amit said.