The Dilliwallah has himself to blame for the apex court banning the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region during Diwali. Had citizens been more sensitive to preserving air quality, acted with greater responsibility, such extreme action might have been averted. Instead, the lavish, vulgar, money culture prevailed and the concept of the “more you spend the greater the enjoyment” took root ~ with drastic consequences that dictated desperate remedies.

Nobody who experienced the awful air-quality that suffocated and choked the NCR last year would question the dire need for the bitter medicine administrated. Yet the question arises if the judiciary is the ideal authority to crack the whip.

The Delhi government did little to discourage the bursting of firecrackers, only token campaigns were conducted in schools. The environment minister at the Centre insults the intelligence by his series of tweets welcoming the apex court directive ~ the curious administrative arrangement makes the Central government equally responsible for managing affairs of the Capital, the minister is a “local” to boot, so the abdication of responsibility must be shared.

Just as it must be for the overall indifference to checking that other “air menace” ~ the burning of paddy-straw in the region that has become a political issue: another case of the Centre passing the buck to the states? The Supreme Court has hardly acquitted itself well. It has imposed no restrictions on the use of firecrackers which could be bought, or smuggled, from beyond the NCR ~ a loophole that gives the police and other agencies ample scope for exploitation.

The court’s flip-flop cannot be appreciated: less than a month ago it had “suspended” its order of last Diwali, temporary licences were issued and traders had invested heavily in firecrackers for resale: who will compensate them? They have a right to earn a living that cannot be snatched away by judicial inconsistency.

No wonder the traders are up in arms, they are demanding the local government move a review petition in court, a general strike is being mooted, others say they will defy the ban and sell crackers on the roadside ~ the makings of a right royal mess. When issuing extreme orders their Lordships should also condescend to working out mechanisms for implementation.

The police already have their hands full without judicial overreach encroaching upon the domain of other wings of government. It does the reputation of the judiciary no good to hear suggestions of it having a religious bias, bazaar-talk of “Talibanisation” and parallels being drawn with Jallikattu.

At the best of times bans, even if temporary, are difficult to digest. And there is something particularly “sick” to reports that the court was responding to a petition from children. Did any toddler don bans and robes to present a case before their Lordships?