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Only ‘green’ crackers in Delhi-NCR, can’t use existing stock this Diwali: SC

On October 9 last year, the top court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to modify its order and said that only green crackers will be sold in Delhi-NCR this Diwali and other festivals.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said firecrackers already produced can be sold in this festival season only in other parts of the country.

In Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and other southern states, firecrackers can be burst from 4 am to 5 am and from 9 pm to 10 pm during festivals, the apex court said.

The top court said that its direction on community bursting of firecrackers will apply pan India for two hours.

In its October 23 order, the Supreme Court had permitted the sale and manufacture of low emission “green” firecrackers countrywide and fixed a two-hour time period from 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting them on Diwali and other festivals

The bench also restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers which were beyond the permissible limit.

The apex court had said that e-commerce websites will be hauled up for contempt of court if they do not adhere to the court’s direction, adding that the Station House Officers of police stations concerned will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

In the previous hearing, the advocates appearing for firecracker manufacturers had told the bench that the apex court had never intended to order a complete ban on the bursting of firecrackers on Diwali, but the composition of green crackers was not even finalised.

They had said that in such a scenario, it would be akin to complete ban on firecrackers as green crackers would possibly come in the market only next year.

They had also said that a lot of changes were required to be made in the quality of crackers to make them green and it was impossible to do so within such a short span of time this year.

Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for the petitioner on whose plea the October 23 order was passed, had told the court that it had stopped short of imposing a complete ban on the use of firecrackers and had said that balance has to be achieved.

He had referred to last year’s order of the apex court and said that as per the direction, no firecrackers could have been brought in Delhi after that order.

The counsel appearing for the manufacturers had said that they were not at all arguing that the order passed by the apex court was wrong, but they could not comply with the directions in the window given to them.

On October 9 last year, the top court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali.

Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.

The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on pollution levels in the region.

(With PTI inputs)