Supreme Court allows sale of firecrackers, but with condition
NEW DELHI: Firecrackers will not be banned completely but the Supreme Court today restricted its use to tackle concerns about deadly pollution in Delhi and other cities. The top court allowed the use of safer firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali next month, when fireworks add to toxic smog in Delhi, the world’s most polluted city according to a WHO report. “We tried to strike a balance,” said a two-judge bench, announcing a two-hour limit for all festivals and weddings. A petition by three children had called for a complete ban on fireworks.
Here is your 10-point cheatsheet on the Supreme Court verdict on firecrackers:
- Firecrackers will be allowed between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am on Christmas and New Year, said Judges AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
- In Delhi, crackers will be allowed only in designated spots, which need to be identified within a week, the judges said.
- Only crackers that are within noise pollution limits set in July 2005 verdict will be allowed. “Ladi” or chain firecrackers, are banned.
- Only licensed traders can sell firecrackers, that too safer ones with reduced emission and permitted chemicals, the judges said.
- Crackers cannot be sold online and if they are, such e-commerce sites will be hauled up for contempt.
- The police officer in charge of an area will be responsible for any violation of the new rules. For now, no cracker complies with the court’s description.
- On October 9 last year, the court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The ban was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels, the judges had said.
- In hearings, the court had noted that Article 21 of the constitution on the Right to Life – a plea used by the petitioners – applied to all, including cracker-makers, and a balance was needed while considering a countrywide ban.
- “Supreme Court’s orders are not very strict. We were expecting complete ban but that has not happened,” said the lawyer for the Central Pollution Control Board.
- The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, has risen above 300 in parts of Delhi in recent days. Anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board.