No ban, but SC sets time limits to burst crackers on Diwali, Christmas, New Year
New Delhi, Oct 23: The Supreme Court has refused to ban the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The court has however imposed certain restrictions on the sale of firecrackers.
In its order the Bench banned the sale of firecrackers online. It also imposes a stay on the sale of firecrackers by e-commerce portals.
Further the court fixed the duration for the bursting of firecrackers. On Diwali, the crackers would be burst only between 8 pm and 10 pm. On Christmas and New Year, crackers can be burst only between 11.45 pm and 12.45 pm.
The Bench also said that only crackers considered to be safe and green will be allowed. Further the court said that the sale of firecrackers will be done only by licence holders. There would be no sale of crackers containing barium salt. Those crackers producing a lot of noise will not be permitted the court also said.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved its verdict on August 28. The court had earlier said there is a need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country, while considering a plea for the ban.
The top court had said the Article 21 (right to life) of Constitution applies to both segments of people and it needs to maintain a balance while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers. It had asked Centre to suggest measures to be taken for curbing the pollution and what will be the effect of firecrackers on the public at large.
The Supreme Court had on August 8 said a spike in PM 2.5 levels in the air is a severe problem as the particulate matter remains in people's lungs, leading to serious health implications. Firecrackers manufacturers earlier told the court that use of firecrackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated. They have contended that the crackers are not the reason for increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it. They have said the firecracker manufacturers can be deprived of their right to do business based on statements which were not supported by facts.
On October 9 last year, the top court 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 the pollution levels in the region.