Supreme Court refuses to ban firecrackers, sets out guidelines instead


The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an outright ban on the sale of firecrackers during festivals such as Diwali and occasions such as weddings, the New Year and Christmas night.
The top court’s bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that it tried to strike a balance while issuing its verdict. “Only crackers with reduced emission will be allowed and they can be sold through licenced holders.” On Diwali night, the firecrackers will be allowed between 8-10 pm, while permissible timing for Christmas and the New Yea has been set from 11.55 pm to 12.30 am.
A petition was filed before the Supreme Court seeking a complete ban on the manufacturing and sale of firecrackers in light of alarming pollution during the festive season. The Supreme Court had reserved its order on 28 August. The court had imposed a temporary ban on firecrackers last year ahead of Diwali. But, that had not prevented people from bursting crackers during Diwali.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that Article 21 of the constitution on the Right to Life applied to people as well as firecracker manufacturers and a balance was needed while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers, reported NDTV. Manufacturers had argued that the use of firecrackers should be strictly regulated adding that they were not the reason for the increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it, said a report by Hindustan Times.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that only licensed traders were allowed to sell firecrackers, that too safer ones with reduced emission and permitted chemicals. It added that crackers could not be sold online and if they were, such e-commerce sites will be hauled up for contempt. It said that for any violation, the police officer in-charge of the area will be held responsible.