Firecracker Traders Withdraw Plea In Delhi High Court Challenging Cancellation Of Licenses

Update: 2021-11-01 08:08 GMT

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed as withdrawn the plea filed by over 50 firecracker traders challenging the cancellation of their licenses to sell firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.The High Court observed that the orders passed by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal were "coming in the way" of petitioners, and added that the petitioners may have chosen in the wrong forum. ...

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The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed as withdrawn the plea filed by over 50 firecracker traders challenging the cancellation of their licenses to sell firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.

The High Court observed that the orders passed by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal were "coming in the way" of petitioners, and added that the petitioners may have chosen in the wrong forum.  In July, the Supreme Court had upheld an NGT ban on sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR region where air quality was poor.

A single bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was of the view that it would be appropriate for the petitioners to approach the Supreme Court seeking clarification in the matter.  In view of these observations, Advocate Rohini Musa appearing for the petitioners sought permission to withdraw the petitions.

"Have you seen the interview of Director of AIIMS yesterday? He says probably the surge has started now and we have to be very careful. After a gap of 36 days, the cases escalated. If you want to ship it outside Delhi and somewhere where it is not banned by SC or NGT, that's the stand of the Delhi Government," the Court said.

The Court also added that it was of the prima facie view that the orders passed by the Supreme Court and the NGT were coming in the way of Petitioners.

On the alternative question of sale of firecrackers outside Delhi, Advocate Kirtiman Singh appearing for the Centre expressed his apprehension that such an order may be misused by the traders to sell the firecrackers anywhere in the Country.

"There is no question of them breaching the order for selling them anywhere which is banned. Your permission to take it out of Delhi will not mean to sell them in an area where it is banned," Court said at the outset.

While it was the stand of Advocate Balendu Shekhar appearing for the Delhi Pollution Control Committee that the petitioners must specify the quantities of firecrackers required to be shipped outside Delhi, Singh added that the traders must take them somewhere where it is permitted.

On the other hand, Delhi Government informed the Court that since last one year, it was not allowing any addition to firecrackers and that raids have been conducted during which over 11,000 KG firecrackers have been seized.

Advocate Naushad Ahmad Khan, appearing for the Delhi Government, added that the the local authority, before transportation, has to issue a circular clarifying if sale of firecrackers is permitted there.

"Before taking out of Delhi, we must know where they are taking," Khan submitted.

At the outset, Justice Sachdeva told Musa:

"If someone from an area with excellent air quality comes here in Delhi and you sell it to them, that will also be in clear violation of the orders."

With the aforesaid discussion, the petitioners' counsel sought permission to withdraw the petition.

The Supreme Court last week issued a series of directions to ensure the strict implementation of its earlier orders banning the use of barium-based chemicals in fire crackers and allowing only the use of "green crackers".

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna said "It is made clear that there is no total ban on use of firecrackers. Only those firecrackers are banned, as directed hereinabove, which are found to be injurious to health and affecting the health of the citizens, more particularly the senior citizens and the children."

In view of this, the petition stated that the decision of the Delhi Government imposing an absolute ban on firecrackers is in violation of their fundamental right to profess and continue their trade in environmentally friendly green crackers.

The plea added that the decision is also in violation of the Apex Court's order clarifying that there was no ban on storage, sale and use of green crackers.

"The petitioners have been holders of permanent licences for more than two decades and therefore, are responsible businessmen and undertake to conduct their business in strict accordance and compliance of the orders of the Supreme Court and the NGT," the plea read. 

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