Firecracker traders and retailers on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its November order that banned the sale of firecrackers in the national Capital region (NCR).
They urged the apex court to “permit the licence holders operating in the NCR outside Delhi to carry on with their trade” as there are almost 1,000 licensees of fireworks in NCR and the business is responsible for the livelihood of around 10,000 people. They also sought permission to dispose of their existing stock of the fireworks.
A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur posted the matter for hearing next week after senior lawyer Salman Khurshid mentioned the application for urgent hearing.
The SC had in November directed the Centre to suspend all licences permitting sale of fireworks in NCR and also ordered that no fresh licences/renewal should be given/granted to sell firecrackers until further orders.
Blaming the Chinese crackers and burning of crop and agricultural residue for the poor air quality around the Diwali time, traders on Tuesday submitted before the SC that the sale and use of firecrackers is minimal and negligible in contributing towards deterioration of the air quality and its use in the ensuing wedding season will not have any substantial impact on the air quality index.
To back their claims, they cited a government study from 1999 which said the use of fireworks has no significant impact on the environment, with exception of lead emissions, which was considered to have a small but not negligible influence.
Stating that they hold valid and subsisting licences, the traders said the licences are issued for a period of one year to 10 years and the business of sale of fireworks is their permanent one where they not only sell firecrackers in NCR but also throughout India. “…the suspension of the licences directly and adversely affects the livelihood of the applicants and their employees,” they said, adding that they should be heard as any such order will affect livelihood of several thousands of their employees.