Right to clean air is part of right to health. Does the right to clean air entail regulations on burning fire crackers on Diwali? Discuss and argue if the recent SC verdict on firecrackers is a breach of freedom of religious practices.

Published: September 13, 2017

Apex court in landmark M. C Mehta v. Kamal Nath case ruled that basic components of environment like air, water are essential for healthy life and therefore can’t be polluted. Following that In a recent verdict on firecrackers, SC said right to clean air is part of the right to health, subsequently, the court directed authorities to reduce the number of firecrackers. The court also directed that every packet, should carry information regarding chemical contents, also the crackers should conform to the noise standards.
SC while issuing guidelines mentioned that health of the people is “more important” and it must take precedence over any commercial or other interest. Therefore, a graded reduction which would eventually result in prohibition is necessary for the clean environment.
Though Article 25 of  Constitution ensures freedom of conscience and right to profess, practice and propagate religion, however, this is not an absolute right and there are reasonable restrictions subject to public order, health, morality. Such judgment should not be seen through the lens of religion but they should be seen from the perspective of mature society who is evolving as per the requirements of the time.
However special emphasis should be on awareness campaigns, people should be made aware of the harmful impacts. Therefore along with the effective implementation of SC guidelines, civil society should be involved to bring the bottom up changes from people’s side.

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