The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the central and Delhi governments on a plea seeking ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers during the festival of Dussehra and Diwali as this further aggravates the already dangerous level of air pollution.
Three toddlers - six-month-old Arjun Gopal and Aarav Bhandari and 14-month-old Zoya Rao Bhasin - have told the apex court that their lungs are not yet fully developed and the large-scale bursting of firecrackers during the festival season of Dussehra and Diwali would further aggravate the already polluted air and will be seriously detrimental to their health.
The three toddlers have moved the apex court through their lawyer fathers.
Addressing a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the three petitioners, said that the issues involved required immediate and long term solutions.
Telling the court that all children should not look like ninjas - a word used by Chief Justice Dattu for describing his grandson who wears a mask to protect himself from air pollution - Sibal said that "40 percent of the children suffer from some kind of respiratory problem".
As court gave the governments, the pollution control agencies and Delhi Police one week's time to respond to the notice, Sibal said: "Let Delhi government come forward with a scheme to address the situation for a short term relief."
As senior counsel K.K.Venugopal told the court that during festival season of Dussehra and Diwali, smoke covers the entire city, Sibal said: "We are all very concerned for the children of this country and their future."
Appearing for another toddler petitioner, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that Delhi government has collected Rs.387 crore for dealing with ever-increasing pollution but 87 percent of this amount remains unspent.
While issuing the notice, the court made it clear that matter would require impleading the association of firecrackers manufacturers as respondent.
Sibal told the court from internet, they could find only one Tamil Nadu-based association of manufacturers.