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On infants’ plea for cracker-free festivals, SC says equally concerned over pollution

New Delhi(dna): The plea of three Delhi-based infants to ban crackers during Dussehra and Diwali came up for hearing before the Supreme Court on Thursday, and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) said, “The court is equally concerned” over the growing air pollution in the national capital.

With this observation, the court sought responses from Centre, Delhi government and the city police within a week to the plea filed by the toddlers from the age group of six to 14 months through their advocate fathers.

Appearing for one of the children, senior advocate Kapil Sibal referred to CJI HL Dattu’s earlier remark that his grandson looks like Ninja (a cartoon character for kids) by wearing a mask to escape from the air pollution in the national capital.

“We do not want all children to become Ninjas,” the former Union law minister said and sought the bench led by the CJI to pass an interim order banning the use of crackers during Dussehra, which is to be celebrated this month, and Diwali festival which falls next month.

Sibal submitted that the bursting crackers release “poisonous and cancerous smoke and some solutions have to be found as 40 per cent children suffer from some kind of respiratory problems.”


Concurring with Sibal, another senior advocate K K Venugopal, who also appeared for another toddler, told the bench that there was a smoke cover in the sky over Delhi after Diwali and urgent corrective steps are required.
The court, however said, “Issuing notice is fine. But issuing any interim order is not feasible right now.”

Besides the Centre and Delhi government, the bench also issued notices to Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Board and fixed the plea for hearing on next Friday.

The bench, which had earlier referred the matter to the social justice bench, later decided to hear after Sibal mentioned it in the morning for an urgent hearing.

The petition, filed by Arjun Goyal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin, urged the apex court to restrain government agencies from issuing licences for sale of crackers in the national capital.

The plea says the widespread use of firecrackers in Delhi during the festive season exposes vulnerable infants to severe diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

The plea said the right of children to breathe clean air was essential for a conducive environment for growth and development, and blamed the authorities for not laying down any guidelines regarding sale of crackers.

Meanwhile, the bench also asked the state, Centre and Amicus-Harish Salve, to place on Friday the suggestions as to how the entry points for the commercial vehicles, which are causing high pollution, be stopped at Haryana and UP borders and how the toll can be levied on them.

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