Diwali cheers: SC revokes ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR


"The permanent licencees are at liberty to exhaust their existing stock of fireworks in Delhi and the NCR and, if that is not possible, take measures to transport the stocks outside Delhi and the NCR", the court directed. The Delhi government, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, had said that school children were being informed about the hazards of indiscriminate bursting of fireworks and there were "anti-fire crackers" campaigns also.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted "for the time being" its order of suspending the permanent licences for sale and retail of fire crackers within the National Capital Region (NCR) by modifying its order of November a year ago.

The court urged the Delhi government and other authorities to consider encouraging fireworks display through community participation rather than individual bursting of fireworks.

"In our considered opinion, continuing the suspension of licences might be too radical a step to take for the present - a graded and balanced approach is necessary that will reduce and gradually eliminate air pollution in Delhi and NCR caused by the bursting of fireworks".

Of Course, we all know that on Nov 25th, 2016 Supreme Court banned the sale of Firecrackers in Delhi, NCR. Referring to the risky levels of air pollution in Delhi after Diwali past year, the bench said persons living in Delhi during that time would have experienced choking effects of breathing in polluted air and tremendous increase in the use and sale of face masks and air purifiers.

The court said that those granted licenses will be permitted to possess and sell only 50% of the quantity permitted in 2017 and it will substantially reduce over the next couple of years.

The order came on a plea of firecracker manufacturers. In 2016, a total of 968 temporary licences were issued for a period of 24 days in Delhi. "The area of distribution of the temporary licences is entirely for the authorities to decide", the bench said. This is disconcerting. It is high time that governmental authorities realize that the cost of ill health (particularly among children) is far greater in psycho-social terms than in financial and economic terms. At this time, Supreme Court has revoked the suspension of permanent licenses of Fire Crackers sellers. "The health of children should be of foremost concern in this regard", it said.

The Supreme Court today took the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to task for not conducting any study on the harmful effects of materials used in the manufacture of fire crackers despite its directions, saying it was "really disturbed".

"...a complete ban on the sale of fireworks would be an extreme step that might not be fully warranted by the facts available to us".