Revelers watch a firework during Diwali celebrations in Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Refuses Blanket Ban On Firecrackers, Imposes Conditions

The Supreme Court today refused to impose a complete ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali but placed restrictions on their use to curb pollution.

Sale of “safe and green” electronic crackers and firecrackers with low emissions will be allowed, but only through licensed dealers, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and A K Sikri ruled. It restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers which are beyond the permissible limits of emissions and noise pollution. Also, the court allowed bursting of firecrackers only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Diwali and other festivals.

Children set off a firework during Diwali celebrations in the Khan Market area of New Delhi. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)
Children set off a firework during Diwali celebrations in the Khan Market area of New Delhi. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Delhi-National Capital Region woke up to a blanket of smog after Diwali last year, indicating “very poor” air quality. Firecrackers emit PM 2.5 and contribute to heavy levels of pollutants in the air. That was despite a blanket ban on sale of firecrackers in the region last year.

A man wearing a face mask crosses a road shrouded in smog with a dalmatian dog in New Delhi. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)
A man wearing a face mask crosses a road shrouded in smog with a dalmatian dog in New Delhi. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

India is home to the world’s 10 most polluted cities with Delhi’s air quality often crossing the unhealthy zone. The number of “very unhealthy” days or worse — when levels of dangerous particles called PM2.5 crossed 200 — rose to 84 in New Delhi in 2017 from 66 in 2015, Bloomberg reported quoting an analysis of air quality data from AirVisual.

The Supreme Court had earlier said there is a need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental rights of livelihood of firecracker makers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country, while considering a plea for the ban.

It asked the central government to promote community cracker bursting and warned law enforcement that the station house officers of police station concerned will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

(With inputs from PTI)

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