Traders in the National Capital Region of Delhi can’t sell firecrackers till November 1, including this Diwali, as the Supreme Court on Friday refused to modify its October 9 ban order.
Traders in the National Capital Region of Delhi can’t sell firecrackers till November 1, including this Diwali, as the Supreme Court on Friday refused to modify its October 9 ban order. However, it clarified that the ban is on the sale of firecrackers and not on bursting them.
“Who said we have banned the bursting of crackers. Have not stopped people from celebrating Diwali, only restricted bursting of crackers. The existing stockpile of crackers is enough,” the bench headed by justice AK Sikri said. “The sales are already taking place. Crackers are already being burst. It is not anyway going to be a cracker-free Diwali,” justice Sikri remarked.
The bench further said people questioning its judgment earlier this week should refrain from politicising the issue and giving it a communal colour. “We are pained at the communal remarks…but we will consider that as people expressing their anguish at our order,” the judge said, adding its concern primarily was the health issue.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the traders, argued that “Diwali has been celebrated for hundreds of years. Delhi is no exception to the rest of India. There are children who wait for Diwali celebrations”. He also suggested that instead of ban, the court should designate the time and limit days for bursting crackers. The court said it would anyway monitor the post-Diwali situation after November 1.
The SC on Monday had restored ban on sale of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR, but allowed relaxation only after till November 1. It also ordered “forthwith” suspension of temporary licences issued by the police for sale of firecrackers pursuant to the order of September 12 that had relaxed sale of fire crackers on the ground that a complete ban is “too radical a step”.
Stating that there was direct evidence of deterioration of air quality at alarming levels, which happens every year during Diwali, the bench said the November 11, 2016, order suspending the licences “should be given one chance to test itself in order to find out as to whether there would be positive effect of this suspension, particularly during Diwali period.”