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Supreme Court bans sale of crackers in Delhi/NCR for testing the effect of the ban on air quality after Diwali - (09 Oct 2017)


The Supreme Court has upheld its earlier verdict banning sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region ahead of Diwali in order to keep a check on the air pollution caused by bursting of fire crackers. The Supreme Court has ruled that, it wants to test the effect of the ban of fire crackers on air quality after Diwali and refused to modify its 9th October Order suspending the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR region till November 1. After the order of Supreme Court, no explosives which are used as fireworks shall be available in the market in the Delhi and NCR, till further orders.

Rule 118 of the Explosive Rules, 2008, framed under the Explosives Act, 1884, provides for the manner in which licenses issued under the Explosives Act to store and sell explosives could be suspended or cancelled. Sub-rule (5) thereof specifically confers on the Central Government a power to suspend or cancel a license if it considers that it is in public interest. This provision also makes it clear that, an opportunity to hear the licensee could be dispensed with if the Central Government considers that in public interest. Supreme Court finds that, the grave air quality situation in NCR is one such case, where this Court, can intervene and suspend the licenses to store and sell fireworks in the NCR.

However, the Supreme Court Order has ruled that, it has suspended sale of fire crackers only and did not impose any restriction on bursting of crackers. The Bench also observed said that, the sales are already taking place and Crackers are already being burst and so it is not anyway going to be a cracker-free Diwali. The Court was of the view that, health of the people in Delhi and in the National Capital Region must take precedence over any commercial or other interest of the applicant or any of the permanent licensees and, therefore, a graded Regulation is necessary. Thus, the Supreme Court in its opinion held that, the Judgment dated September 12, 2017 passed by the bench should be made effective only after diwali i.e. from November 01, 2017 and held that though bench is not tweaking with the various directions contained in the Orders dated September 12, 2017, but the effect of that Order would not be given during this Diwali and, therefore, making it effective only from November 01, 2017. The bench further observed that, they are conscious of the fact that after the said order was passed, the police may have issued temporary licences and accordingly, those licenses are suspended forthwith so that there is no further sale of the crackers in Delhi and NCR.

The said order was passed in a Petition filed before the Supreme Court seeking wide ranging reliefs against the use of fireworks (including fire crackers), prevention of harmful crop burning, dumping of malba and other further steps towards environmental purity. The Organisations pitching for environmental cause have welcomed this step, but there is also huge debate among the traders community regarding the passing of this order of ban just before diwali and its effect on their business. The Supreme Court has however, considered the larger interest of society and has taken a bold step in curbing environmental pollution.


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