SC notice to Centre, Delhi on plea for cracker-free festivals

New Delhi, Oct 8: "We do not want all children to become ninjas", a senior lawyer told the Supreme Court today, taking a cue from Chief Justice H L Dattu's reference to his grandson looking like a ninja by wearing a mask to avoid high levels of pollution in Delhi.

The remark was made by Kapil Sibal when the apex court was hearing a plea filed by three infants against the use of loud fire-crackers during the festivals of Diwali and Dussehra.

SC notice to Centre, Delhi on plea for cracker-free festivals.
Ninjas were known to carry out espionage and covert activities, often in disguise, during 16th-17th century in Japan.

Sharing the concerns expressed by senior lawyers Sibal and K K Venugopal on the issue, a bench headed by the Chief Justice however said it would be difficult to pass an interim order but sought responses from the Centre and Delhi government on the matter.

"Issuing notice is fine. But issuing any interim order is not feasible right now," the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.

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Besides the Centre and Delhi Government, the bench also issued notices to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB) and fixed the plea for hearing on next Friday.

Sibal, arguing for the toddlers, started his arguments by referring to the "poisonous and cancerous" smoke and particulate matters released due to bursting of loud crackers.

"Some solutions are to be found. Around 40 per cent children suffer from some kind of respiratory problems," he said and sought a direction to the authorities to come up with short and long term steps to deal with the issue.

Venugopal said there was a smoke cover in the sky over Delhi after Diwali and urgent corrective steps are required. 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 the three children between the age of six and 14 months through their fathers, has stressed on their right to be brought up in a pollution-free environment and sought that government agencies be restrained from issuing licence for sale of crackers in the national capital.


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