Supreme Court Against Nationwide Ban on Firecrackers The court has, however, put conditions for the use of firecrackers during festivals and marriages


THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday refused a ban on the manufacturing and sale of firecrackers ahead of the festival of Diwali but imposed certain conditions on the timings and the quality.

The two-judge bench of Justice AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved the verdict on August 28 on a plea for a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers nationwide ahead of Diwali.

The court ordered that firecrackers could be burnt only between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali and between 11.45 pm and 12.45 am on Christmas and New year.

The court also said that only less polluting firecrackers will be allowed to be sold. It also banned the online sale of firecrackers and said only licensed dealers could sell.

These are some of the significant directions issued by the Supreme Court in its order today:

• The crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers would be permitted to be manufactured and sold.

• The manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or laris) is hereby banned as the same causes huge air, noise and solid waste problems.

• The sale shall only be through licensed traders and it shall be ensured that these licensed traders are selling those firecrackers which are permitted by this order.

• No e-commerce websites, including Flipkart, Amazon etc., shall accept any online orders and effect online sales. Any such e-commerce companies found selling crackers online will be hauled up for contempt of court and the Court may also pass, in that eventuality, orders of monetary penalties as well.

• Barium salts in the fireworks is also hereby banned.

• The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) will ensure fireworks with permitted chemicals only to be purchased/possessed/sold/used during Diwali and all other religious festivals, of any religion whatsoever, and other occasions like marriages, etc. It shall test and check for the presence of banned chemicals like Lithium/Arsenic/ Antimony/Lead/Mercury.

• Extensive public awareness campaigns shall be taken up by the Central Government/State Governments/Schools informing the public about the harmful effects of firecrackers.

• On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurpurab etc., when such fireworks generally take place, it would strictly be from 8:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. only. On Christmas eve and New Year eve, when such fireworks start around midnight, i.e. 12:00 a.m., it would be from 11:55 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. only.

• The Union of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and the State Governments of the NCR would permit community firecracking only (for Diwali and other festivals etc. as mentioned above), wherever it can be done. For this purpose, particular area/fields would be pre-identified and predesignated by the concerned authorities. This exercise shall be completed within a period of one week from today so that the public at large is informed about the designated places one week before Diwali. The areas designated now for the purpose of Diwali shall be valid for community firecracking on other occasions/festivals as well, as mentioned above. Even for marriages and other occasions, sale of improved crackers and green crackers is only permitted.

• All the official respondents, and particularly the Police, shall ensure that fireworks take place only during the designated time and at designated places, as mentioned above. They shall also ensure that there is no sale of banned firecrackers. In case any violation is found, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned Police Station of the area shall be held personally liable for such violation and this would amount to committing contempt of the Court, for which such SHO(s) would be proceeded against.

• The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and respective State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs/PCCs) of the States and Union Territories shall carry out short-term monitoring in their cities for 14 days (commencing from 7 days prior to Diwali and ending 7 days after Diwali) for the parameters namely, Aluminum, Barium, Iron apart from the regulatory parameters against the short-term Ambient Air Quality Criteria Values (AAQCVs) proposed by CPCB with regard to bursting of firecrackers. This will help in generation of data on pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers and would be helpful for regulation and control quantity of Aluminum, Barium and Iron used in the manufacture of firecrackers.

#firecrackers: WHAT THEY SAID

The advocate for Central Pollution Control Board

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