Supreme court asked the Center to make its stand clear on steps to control pollution and about the harmful effects of crackers on public health. It also stated that there is a need to maintain a balance between the right to carry on a trade and the right to health.
A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to file an affidavit detailing short-term steps and the plan to curb pollution due to the bursting of firecrackers.
‘Supreme court said that it is important to maintain a balance between the right to trade and the right to health, but the Centre has to make a stand on steps to control pollution from firecrackers and its ill-effects on public health.’
The bench said that there is a fundamental right to livelihood of firecrackers manufacturers involved as well as the fundamental right to health for 130 crore citizens of the country.
The court was hearing a PIL that sought a countrywide ban on manufacture, sale, and possession of firecrackers.
Earlier, the firecracker manufacturers had told the apex court that crackers alone were not the sole cause of rising pollution during Diwali though it was one of the contributing factors and that an entire industry can't be shut down on this count.
The manufacturers contended that pollution had reached very high levels not only due to firecrackers but also vehicular pollution, construction dust, and stubble-burning.
"The question is whether an entire industry can be shut down citing air pollution while other industries are allowed to continue," contended the counsel for the manufacturers.
The court posted for August 21 a batch of pleas that sought a countrywide ban on possession, sale and bursting of firecrackers and stubble-burning by farmers.
Earlier, the bench had expressed concern over growing respiratory problems among children due to air pollution and had said it would decide whether there has to be a complete or reasonable curb on the bursting of firecrackers.
The bench had cited a report that said 20-25 percent of children suffer from respiratory diseases, adding: "The lungs of most infants in Delhi are grey."
One of the pleas filed by a child, Arjun Gopal, represented by lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan, sought a ban on possession of firecrackers in the National Capital Region as it was contributing to an already alarming air pollution.
Last year, the apex court prohibited the sale of firecrackers in NCR-Delhi during Diwali.