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SC refuses to relax order banning crackers sale in NCR this Diwali

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to relax its 9 October order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) till 31 October, rejecting the plea of firecracker traders who had sought its permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali.

No firecrackers will be sold in Delhi-NCR this Diwali on 19 October as the apex court on
9 October had restored a ban on the sale of crackers in the national capital and its surrounding towns till this month-end.

“We are not going to relax the order as far as sale of firecrackers is concerned,” a Bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said on Friday.

The apex court also expressed anguish that attempts were made to give a “communal colour” to its 9 October ban order.

The Bench said Diwali would not be “cracker-free” in Delhi-NCR anyways as people would burst crackers which they had purchased before the ban order.

During the hearing, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the parties, referred to certain statements made by some political leaders after the court’s 9 October verdict. “Do not make it political. We are pained to hear that some people tried to give it a communal colour. We are pained. It is sad,” the Bench said.

“Sale of firecrackers which has already taken place before the ban order, people will burst it and that will be sufficient. Anyhow, it is not going to be a cracker-free Diwali,” the top court said.

The court said its ban order ahead of this Diwali was an experiment to examine its effects on the air pollution levels in the national capital region during the festive season.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for firecracker traders, said he did not want to argue the matter but only give a suggestion that sale of crackers should be allowed at least a day or two before Diwali. He also suggested that the court could restrict the timings for bursting firecrackers or its sale.

Rohatgi said that following the apex court’s 12 September order ~ which temporarily lifted the stay on this ban to permit sale of firecrackers in the NCR ~ traders had got licences and invested money.

“Diwali is a festival which is being celebrated for long. Delhi is not an exception. The problem of pollution is everywhere. There are number of children and persons who want to celebrate Diwali,” he said while seeking relaxation on the ban order.

The apex court however asserted, “This would be against the very spirit of the order”.
The Bench also said that firecrackers should be allowed to be burst till 11 p.m. and not beyond that because it also caused noise pollution.

The court also asked Delhi Police to implement its order banning sale of firecrackers.
On 9 October, the court had said its 12 September order will be made effective only from 1 November.

The top court had then said that its 11 November 2016 order suspending the licences for sale of fireworks in the NCR “should be given one chance to test itself” to see if there would be its positive effects on air quality during Diwali.