In what could be seen as good news for a select group of revellers in the run-up to one of the biggest festivals of North India, the Supreme Court today refused to impose a nationwide blanket ban on sale of firecrackers — but conditions apply. It has allowed the sale of only “green firecrackers”, which are less polluting. Also, people can burst crackers only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali.
The Supreme Court's verdict came in response to a plea seeking a ban on manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country, as pollution levels peak in Delhi especially around Diwali. This, combined with stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, renders the city unliveable.
The court also banned the online sale of firecrackers and put a stay on e-commerce portals from selling them.
The bench, comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, had reserved its verdict on August 28.
Last year, on October 9, the Supreme Court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The court had refused to relax its order and dismissed a plea moved by traders.
In wake of the temporary ban, the traders were seeking permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali last year. The court had said that the limited ban on firecrackers during Diwali was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels.
Noida residents have expressed mixed reactions to the decision.
Anurag Chaturvedi (52), a resident in Sector 77, complained, “How can the country’s apex court forget the pollution levels after Diwali? Most people in Delhi-NCR suffer from breathing problems. Residents find it even difficult to step out.”
But there are some who have hailed the decision.
Dinesh Kumar, a resident in Sector 70, gushed, “Last year, we had to go to Meerut to my brother-in-laws’s place to celebrate the Diwali for our 7-year-old son. This time it will be different -- we will celebrate at home. It’s our biggest festival, and we don’t want to compromise!”TAGS: Diwali / firecrackers / apex court / North India / Supreme Court