Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Supreme Court lifts ban on firecrackers in Delhi ahead of Diwali

Supreme Court lifts ban on firecrackers in Delhi ahead of Diwali

Referring to the unsafe levels of air pollution in Delhi after Diwali previous 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 top court directed the Delhi Police to reduce grant of temporary licences by about 50 percent of those granted in 2016 and cap it at 500.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday favoured display of fireworks through community participation instead of the individual bursting of crackers during Diwali and Dussehra festivals.

Also, on the matter of a ban of firecrackers, apex court called a committee chaired by the chairperson of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

In November 2016, the top court had banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR region after the pollution levels in the national capital shot up to alarming levels. It had also observed that as per reports, 30 percent children in Delhi were asthmatic and steps needed to be taken all fronts.

While lifting its suspension of valid permanent licences, a bench headed by a Bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur said that a graded and balanced rather than a radical approach was required to deal with pollution menace in the city.

"What is also worrying, apart from the absence of standards or limits having been laid down by the CPCB, is that very little or no attention seems to have been paid by any of the governmental authorities to the possible health hazards faced by children due to exposure to chemicals in fireworks", the bench said.

"The suspension of permanent licences, as directed by the November 11 order, is lifted for the time being".

This might require a review after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality post-Diwali.

"...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".

The order came on a plea of firecracker manufacturers.

The court also directed authorities to make sure that fireworks are not burst in silence zones and within 100 meters from hospitals, nursing homes, health centres, courts, religious places etc.

It observed that large number of temporary licences were issued for possession and sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR and there was a need to regulate the availability and sale of fire crackers here. Similarly, the States in the NCR are restrained from granting more than 50% of the number of temporary licences granted in 2016. However, it has given liberty to the licensees to transport them outside Delhi and the NCR.

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