Supreme Court Allows 'Safe' Firecrackers for Diwali; Restrictions in Delhi

Firecrackers can only be burst between 8 pm and 10 pm. In Delhi, crackers can be burst only in designated spots, the Supreme Court said in response to a plea seeking a nation-wide ban on firecrackers.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted, across the country, the sale and manufacture of “green” firecrackers which have low emission. These crackers must fall within the noise pollution limits set in the July 2005 verdict.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and A.K. Sikri fixed the 8 pm to 10 pm time period for bursting of firecrackers on Diwali and other festivals. During Christmas and New Year’s Eve, crackers can be burst between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am.

Only licensed traders can sell crackers. Ladis or chain-firecrackers have been banned.

The apex court also restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers.

In Delhi, crackers can be burst only in designated spots, which the judges said should be identified soon.

The top court’s order came on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution. The plea invoked right to life, enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution, to impose the ban on firecrackers. The judges said that even cracker manufacturers had right to life and therefore sought “balance” while considering a nation-wide ban.

According to NDTV, a Central Pollution Control Board lawyer said the apex court’s order is not “strict”. “We were expecting a complete ban, but this did not happen,” the lawyer said.

In a judgment last October, the Supreme Court had banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi. It said the order was meant to test the effect of the ban on air quality levels.

Delhi air pollution level on the rise

Last Saturday, Delhi’s air quality slipped into the ‘very poor’ bracket. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 336, and the forecast suggested that it was only set to rise. An AQI of 101-200 is categorised as moderate, while an AQI between 201-300 is ‘poor’. Delhi has already breached the ‘poor’ range and entered the ‘very poor’ category (301-400), moving steadily towards the ‘severe’ category (401-500).

Also Read: Delhi’s Air is Toxic Once Again as Stubble Burning Begins

The rise in pollution levels was attributed to burning of crop stubble. Severe levels of pollution are recorded in Delhi around October and November, primarily due to stubble burning and Diwali celebrations.

(With PTI inputs)