In a massive move to control pollution, the Supreme Court on October 9, banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR until November 1. However, the ban is only on the sale, and those who have already purchased fire crackers can still burst them.
The latest SC order said that the temporary licences for the sale of fire cracker released by the police, pursuant to the SC judgment on September 12, have been 'forthwith' suspended.
The Apex Court in its judgment observed, "We are of the view that the order suspending the licences should be given one chance to test itself in order to find out as to whether there would be positive effect of this suspension, particularly during Diwali period. Insofar as adverse effects of burning of crackers during Diwali are concerned, those have been witnessed year after year. The air quality deteriorates abysmally and alarmingly and the city chokes thereby. It leads to closing the schools and the authorities are compelled to take various measures on emergent basis, when faced with "health emergency" situation. This very situation had occurred on the very next morning after Diwali in the year 2016. It resulted in passing the order dated November 11, 2016. This order prevailed during the year but the impact and effect of this order remains to be tested on Diwali days.
Going by these considerations, we are of the opinion that the judgment dated September 12, 2017 passed by this Court should be made effective only from November 01, 2017. To put it clearly, though we are not tweaking with the various directions contained in the Orders dated September 12, 2017, the effect of that Order would not be given during this Diwali and, therefore, we are making it effective only from November 01, 2017. We are conscious of the fact that after the said order was passed, the police may have issued temporary licences. Accordingly, those are suspended forthwith so that there is no 20 further sale of the crackers in Delhi and NCR. Further orders in this behalf can be passed on assessing the situation that would emerge after this Diwali season. "
The court also pointed out the the adverse air pollution levels after Diwali last year that caused inconvenience to the citizens and and led to a shutting down of schools and colleges.
According to sources, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a traders' body is going to submit a review petition in the Supreme Court post the ban on sale.
According to a report in The Indian Express, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, "The Supreme Court has imposed ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR but there is no ban on bursting of crackers. Possibility of people buying crackers from other states and bursting them in Delhi-NCR cannot be ruled out. The distinction between Delhi traders and traders from the rest of India seems to be unjustified,"
While many welcome the SC's move and believe that this is a significant step towards curbing the deterioration of air quality in the capital, shopkeepers are not happy, as they said this Diwali - due to the ban, they are going to incur huge loses.