Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

SC lifts firecracker ban for Diwali

SC lifts firecracker ban for Diwali

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said Haryana and Uttar Pradesh too, should ensure that retail outlets in the NCR region falling in their states were reduced by 50 per cent.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Delhi government was being "lethargic" about taking proactive steps to counter air pollution.

Putting a ceiling of 5,000 ton on the sale of explosives in Delhi, the court in its order said no firecrackers would be allowed to enter Delhi and the NCR from other regions.

"The suspension of permanent licences, as directed by the November 11 order, is lifted for the time being".

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While it observed that the residents of the NCT and NCR are entitled to breathe unpolluted air, there was no conclusive proof that extremely poor quality of air in Delhi in last winter was the result only of bursting fireworks around Diwali to justify the ban. The court, which lifted "for the time being" its earlier order suspending permanent licences for sale of fire crackers in the national capital region, said no specific action plan has been laid down by Delhi government to make children aware of the hazards of bursting crackers. "The graded and balanced approach is not meant to dilute our primary concern which is and remains the health of everybody and the human right to breathe good quality air or at least not be compelled to breathe poor quality air", the court said. The Delhi government, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, had said that school children were being informed about the hazards of indiscriminate bursting of fireworks and there were "anti-fire crackers" campaigns also.

The court also directed the Delhi Police to reduce the number of temporary licence by 50 per cent of those granted past year and cap it at 500.

However, it passed various directions for regulating temporary licences. The environmentalists had sought courts intervention in passing orders for a ban on the sale of firecrackers due to a rising pollution. Similarly, the States in the NCR are restrained from granting more than 50% of the number of temporary licences granted in 2016. "The health of children should be of foremost concern in this regard", it said. "The permanent licencees are at liberty to exhaust their existing stock of fireworks in Delhi and the NCR and, if that is not possible, take measures to transport the stocks outside Delhi and the NCR", the court directed. The order is an interim arrangement as the Bench set up a Committee headed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) chairman to study the harmful effects of firecrackers on human health and submit a report by December 31.

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