Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar while ordering status quo in the setting up of a petrol bunk beside a school at Madukkarai in Coimbatore, said, “It appears that the site is located about 25 metres from the gate of the school. Considering the welfare of about 700 children, we deem it appropriate to direct that status-quo with regard to setting up of the petroleum/diesel outlet be maintained in respect of the premises in question.”
Also, the bench, while referring to an order passed by Madras HC prompting the state government to frame the code of regulations for play schools, 2015, said, “We find no reason why there should not be similar regulations in relation to recognised schools other than play schools, which provide that no petroleum/diesel outlet should be set up within 100 metres from play schools which have long been in existence.”
The bench, while issuing notice to Indian Oil Corporation Limited and the Joint Chief Controller of Explosives, to file counter affidavits within three weeks, also observed, “We cannot but take judicial notice of the health hazards caused by evaporation of petroleum in and around retail petroleum/diesel outlets. Published articles based on research indicate that some airborne organic compounds such as Benzene, which are said to increase the risk of cancer, have been recorded at fairly high levels in and around petrol stations.” Petitioner’s counsel VBR Menon argued that the Bomby High Court, in an identical case, has insisted on the need to maintain 90 metres between a Petroleum retail outlet and a school. The case has been posted for further hearing to October 23, 2017.