Search This Blog

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Deepavali ! ~ Diwali .. .. .. the Court order pains !!!

3 decades ago came Mani Ratnam’s ‘Nayakan’ – story of an Underworld don – even before the film was released, the songs became a super hit – there was this old themed song  "Naan Sirithal Deepavali"   - sung by yesteryear stars - K. Jamuna Rani, M. S. Rajeswari and chorus.  Read that this scene was shot at the spot where the Taj Club House, (Club House Road opp to Spencers) is located today. The old building previously located at that spot was called the "Indian Express Building" by film industrialists as it was adjacent to the Old office of the Indian Express. Thota Tharani converted the building's exterior into a brothel and used the opposite end of the building for Velu's house location.
pic credit : Mrs Sreepriya Iyengar

Deepavali, the festival of Lights enthuses everyone and is celebrated all over the Country with so much of enthusiasm.  People wear new clothes, eat lot of sweets and celebrate with crackers.   The very thought of the festival would enthuse – as it would provide everything in abundance – sweets, visiting and sharing with friends and relatives, watching movies and more…. and .. .. fire crackers – the small explosives designed to produce noise and the eye-capturing fireworks – both on the ground and on the air have captivated people.   Every year you get to hear newer names –they say AK47, Break dance, Golden Bonanza, Mumbai Indians, Oh Calcutta are some of the names quoted in the circles as wonders……… at Triplicane, Sri Parthasarathi Swami purappadu in the mada veethis took 4 hours from 6 pm – ‘hundreds of 10000 walahs and beautiful fire works lit the air’ as people celebrated Deepavali.

The festivity could be felt in the air even before a fortnight, when one walks either in T Nagar area, where every shop be it selling Gold, silver or clothes – are overcrowded – the entire area would be flowing with people jostling to buy more and more.  If you are in the Parrys Corner or Flower Bazaar area to be precise, you can gauge the mood of people buying crackers.  All roads would lead to shops selling fire crackers of various manufacturers including – Standard, National, Sri Kaliswari, Aiyan ….. – you can see hundreds of shops at Badrian Street, Malaya Perumal Street, Anderson street – every other shop is a Cracker shop – still all do roaring business.  Somehow one gets a feeling that there have been attempts to somehow dampen the spirits of Deepavali – as every year, we hear of more and more restrictions from various Governmental authorities or directives from the Court.  Earlier, some hue and cry was raised about child labour in the fire works manufacturing – it the concern was real, why the same was not raised in candle and other things – where also child labour is involved.  Then, some start talking about the pollution control. 

Can any of these authorities think of a similar ban on say – sale of liquor, at least restricting the timing or say screening  of cinema etc.,

The whole Nation is talking about the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 728 of 2015 – interestingly, the main petitioners were six months old and petitioner No.3 was fourteen months old.  It was filed through their parents who reportedly were overtly  concerned about the health of their children as they feel that due to the alarming degradation of the air quality, leading to severe air pollution in the city of Delhi (where these petitioners reside), the petitioners may encounter various health hazards. Poor, very poor or severe air quality/air pollution affects all citizens, irrespective of their age.  …. .. and when the judgment came out imposing an all India restraint, some popular  media wrote about - North Indian bias', 'cultural imperialism' alleged in Supreme Court order on firecrackers  ~ it added that a stipulated time window to celebrate a festival as big as Diwali in a country as diverse as India has become an unlikely bone of contention between North, South and East Indian parts.

The Supreme Court order on bursting of Diwali firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm created an unintended discord among Indians. Well for north Indians, the judgement works perfectly fine as Diwali crackers are lit up after the nightfall. However, in South India, where Diwali is celebrated during early morning, the apex court's order has evoked strong disapproval. SC's decision on bursting of crackers has also piqued those living in the east. In Assam, West Bengal and most of the eastern India, Diwali is generally celebrated a day before.  There have been talks about seeking   a judicial review of the court order, many expressed their displeasure with the verdict. Court order stated that  except Delhi and neighbouring areas can use existing stocks of firecrackers this Diwali, the Supreme Court said today. Delhi and neighbouring areas will have to stick to "green crackers" to keep the pollution levels in check.

The Tamil Nadu government on its part  urged the Supreme Court to allow bursting of firecrackers on Diwali or Deepavali morning as per religious practices in the state, besides the already permitted period between 8 pm to 10 pm.  The petition pleaded that State should be given permission between 4.30 am to 6.30 am as well.

In the writ petition, the petitioners had pressed for interim relief in respect of fireworks, drawing the attention of this Court to the emergent situation that has resulted in worsening the air quality standards in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) because of extensive use of fireworks, including fire crackers during Diwali last year. It was pointed out that onset of winter itself deteriorates air quality in this region and it gets aggravated because of festival/marriage season that occurs during these very months. The two-judge bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan gave the order shocking most.  On 23 October 2018, the Supreme Court made a judgement refusing to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers. Instead, it limited the time to two hours, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The apex court also ruled that only green crackers could be sold in the country.

The petitioners sought ban stating that cracker manufacturers were employing child labour – a hackneyed onesided observation – will that apply to candles or any other industry .. .. Cracker manufacture / Sivakasi have their own unique conditions, which cannot be understood from Delhi or farther.    That the  manufacturing of firecrackers generates a lot of waste which adds to pollution as sufficient measures are not undertaken to deal with this waste. So what about tanneries ?  Number of deaths as well as injuries to persons are caused every year – more no. of people get killed in road accidents in every State, what is done to improve the conditions ??  Firework also leads to lot of noise and air pollution !!  Besides deterioration in air quality, it was argued that dogs are also known to display psychological symptoms of stress during this time. Fireworks has traumatising affect even on birds. Deafening sound which the crackers produce on bursting are known to disorient birds and responsible for their displacement from their nests !!  ~ care for pets is good, but what about killing them cold blood ??

The Respondents opposed the prayer submitting that -   Burning of crackers during Diwali does not have any significant adverse affect on the environment. It is argued that there is no study till date which has come to such a conclusion. The Deepawali Monitoring Report, 2017 of CPCB is relied upon for this purpose and on that basis it is contended that the factors which contributed to the problem were not because of crackers burning during Diwali. Ambient air quality before and after Diwali reflects that there was no spike immediately after Diwali. It was accepted that situation of air pollution in Delhi and NCR is 'generally' worrying. However, there are multiple causes which lead to polluting air and such a position existed even before Diwali, which showed that other factors played dominant role.

Upon the argument that banning the sale of firecrackers may lead to extreme economic hardship, namely, on the one hand loss of substantial revenue and on the other hand unemployment to lakhs of persons – the Court stated that   argument of economic hardship is pitched against right to health and life. When the Court is called upon to protect the right to life, economic effect of a particular measure for the protection of such right to health will have to give way to this fundamental right.

So the Court directed that on On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurpurab etc., when such fireworks generally take place, it would strictly be from 8:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. only.  Later on Tamil Nadu Govt’s petition, it was amended to be :   6 to 7 am and 7 to 8 pm time slots for bursting crackers on Diwali.    An advisory was issued not to burst high-decibel serial crackers. The Tamil Nadu government Friday said people would be allowed to burst firecrackers between 6 am and 7 am and 7 pm and 8 pm on Deepavali day (November 6), in line with the Supreme Court directive.

Crackers pollute !!  ~  how  addicted are you to your air conditioner? – don’t rich and powerful use air conditioner in their cars, room air conditioners at home and centralized a/c at offices – now a days, people are using air conditioners almost throughout the year, as in Chennai and other places –the climant, is hot, hotter and hottest .. ..   Air conditioning can cause – dry skin, muscle contractions, air borne infections,  respiratory problems, eye conditions and more – it is harmful for the society, more bad for those outside where the air is let out .. .. .. but it is for rich and famous !  -  they cannot live without refrigerators – be it in Office or at home – there is no harm perhaps in fridges as such - the problems occur when they escape. CFC's are ozone depleters, each CFC molecule can destroy thousands of ozone molecules. Ozone protects us from high levels of UF light. High UV can cause cataracts, skin cancer, DNA damage.

There are times when one feels, judgments are against the common man – and at times against the majority community .. .. .. sad !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Nov. 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment