SC declines blanket ban, allows to burst firecrackers for two hours on Diwali, 35 minutes on New Year’s eve
- Team PT
SC declines blanket ban, allows to burst firecrackers for two hours on Diwali, 35 minutes on New Year’s eve



People can burst low-emission firecrackers for two hours this Diwali,  the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, ruling against a blanket ban on fireworks. But the top court ordered that the firecrackers should not be too noisy or polluting.

A two-member bench said only "green crackers” — which have low emission and permissible sound limits — can be sold through licensed traders as it effected a ban on online trade of firecrackers. The court also said that e-commerce companies will be held for contempt of court if they failed to adhere to the court order.

Considering widespread air pollution concerns, the bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan fixed a time duration for bursting crackers: between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali, and between 11.55 pm and 12.30 am on Christmas Eve and New Year. It also directed the Centre to encourage community cracker bursting during Diwali and other festivals in Delhi-NCR. The bench also said that the station house officers of police stations concerned will be held liable if banned crackers are sold in their respective areas.

It ordered the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to give clearances to crackers only if they meet noise and emission standards.

The court also banned online sale of firecrackers and said it would be the responsibility of e-commerce companies to ensure there is no violation of the order.

The top court had earlier said all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country, needs to be taken into account while considering a plea for the ban.

It had asked the Centre to suggest measures to be taken to curb the pollution and the effect of firecrackers on the public at large.

Manufacturers earlier told the court that the use of firecrackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated. They said firecrackers are not the reason for the increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.

Last October, the Supreme Court suspended the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 1 to in the run up to Diwali which was celebrated on October 19 in 2017. But the use of firecrackers in the city was still rampant on Diwali day, according to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) of CPCB data.
 

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