“As parents, we noticed the air was getting worse, our children were coughing and developing bronchial problems. And the governments were doing nothing about it. I have the right to life, health and so do my kids. Why would I look elsewhere?” said Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, after the court reinstated the ban on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR Monday.
In 2015, the 40-year-old had moved the apex court on behalf of his six-month-old son Arjun Gopal, in a plea to ban use of firecrackers.
Arjun is now two, and is one of the three petitioners, apart from two-year-old Aarav Bhandari and three-year-old Zoya Rao Bhasin.
In November 2016, the court banned the sale of firecrackers across Delhi-NCR. It was lifted on September 12, 2017, and reinstated on Monday. “This order prevailed during the year but the impact and effect of this order remains to be tested during Diwali. Going by these considerations, we are of the opinion that the judgment dated September 12, 2017 passed by this court should be made effective only from November 01, 2017,” read the judgment.
“We are conscious that after the said order was passed, the police may have issued temporary licences. Accordingly, those are suspended forthwith so that there is no further sale of crackers in Delhi-NCR. Further orders can be passed on assessing the situation that would emerge after this Diwali season.”
Sankaranarayanan said that in the 2015 plea, apart from firecrackers, there are seven more causes of pollution listed — from old diesel vehicles and construction dust to use of crude oil instead of meeting Euro VI emission standards.
“Just three days of bursting firecrackers contributes immensely to the pollution in the city. Even last year, after Diwali, schools were shut because the air quality had deteriorated so much. It affects the children and the elderly most adversely,” said advocate Sankaranarayanan.