This Diwali, the people of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will get to burst firecrackers only for three hours with the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday restricting the same within 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm on October 19, with total ban on any such indulgence before or after Diwali.
A bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Amit Rawal directed: “The bursting of firecrackers within the territorial locations of UT, Chandigarh, States of Punjab and Haryana shall be between 06:30 PM to 09:30 PM on Diwali day i.e. 19th October, 2017 only.
“In other words, there shall be no bursting of firecrackers before 06:30 PM or after 09:30 PM, regardless of territorial locations. It is further directed that there shall be no bursting of crackers even before and also after Diwali till the next date of hearing (October 26).”
The court had on Thursday taken suo motu cognizance of the pollution caused by unmindful bursting of crackers and called for reports on licences issued for sale of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
On Friday, it directed that “PCR Vans shall be deployed by the UT, Chandigarh as well as the States of Punjab and Haryana to ensure the safety and keep an eye on the persons bursting the firecrackers beyond the time limit prescribed under this order”.
The court left it open for the NGOs to be a part of the policing and check if its order is being implemented in toto.
Meanwhile, the bench made it clear that no permanent licence would be issued without its permission.
To check random distribution of temporary licence, the court ordered, “The Union Territory, Chandigarh, the States of Punjab and Haryana shall be entitled to issue temporary licences upto 20% of the total number of temporary licences issued in the previous year i.e. in 2016 and the grant of issuance of temporary licences shall be on the basis of draw of lots to be held by the concerned Deputy Commissioners themselves…”
“The sale of firecrackers by the temporary licensees, granted by the Deputy Commissioner concerned, shall only be in the areas, which would be designated by the respective Deputy Commissioner only,” it stressed.
All temporary licences issued till date have been declared nullity.