Supreme Court Changes Order Banning Sale Of Fire Crackers In Delhi-NCR

13 September 2017, 12:18 | Robert Harris

Supreme Court lifts ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR with conditions

Supreme Court lifts ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR with conditions

On lifting the November 11, 2016 ban, the court said that from the material before them, "it can not be said with any great degree of certainty that the extremely poor quality of air in Delhi in November and December 2016 was the result only of bursting fireworks around Diwali" but this can not "be glossed over".

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

"Keeping in mind the adverse effects of air pollution, the human right to breathe clean air and the human right to health, the Central Government and other authorities should consider encouraging display of fireworks through community participation rather than individual bursting of fireworks", it said.

The Supreme Court today took the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to task for not conducting any study on the harmful effects of materials used in the manufacture of fire crackers despite its directions, saying it was "really disturbed". It had also observed that as per reports, 30 percent children in Delhi were asthmatic and steps needed to be taken all fronts.

"What is also worrying, apart from the absence of standards or limits having been laid down by the CPCB, is that very little or no attention seems to have been paid by any of the governmental authorities to the possible health hazards faced by children due to exposure to chemicals in fireworks", the bench said.

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Past year on November 11, the apex court has ordered suspension of all licences permitting the sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within NCR till further orders. "The area of distribution of the temporary licences is entirely for the authorities to decide", the bench said. "This might require a review after Diwali, depending on the ambient air quality after the festival", it said. In 2016, a total of 968 temporary licences were issued for a period of 24 days in Delhi. Consequently, a complete ban on the sale of fireworks would be an extreme step that might not be fully warranted by the facts available to us.

The Supreme Court on modified its November 2016 order suspending all licences for sale and retail of fire crackers within Delhi NCR. The environmentalists had sought courts intervention in passing orders for a ban on the sale of firecrackers due to a rising pollution.

As a cautionary, the court said: "There must be a concerted effort to ensure awareness and sensitization of the people in Delhi and NCR, particularly children, of the health hazards of indiscriminate use of fireworks".

The Bench directed the Delhi Police to allow only up to 500 temporary licences this year.

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