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SC Rejects Plea To Modify Cracker Ban Order In Delhi/NCR

A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri of the Supreme Court today refused to modify the cracker sale ban order in Delhi and NCR saying it will go against the spirit of the judgment .

“Sales which has already taken place before our order…those crackers can be bursted..then what is the problem , justice Sikri orally observed.

The Bench also observed that it was “deeply anguished” to see that it’s order was given a communal colour.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the traders argued “We are not asking complete lifting of ban or not saying crackers don’t cause pollution but only requesting that sales be allowed and bursting be allowed between a restricted time..we wish to say crackers being burst since 100s of years on Diwali….if many kids and parents do not want to burst there is an other side too …many children and parents want to celebrate by bursting crackers”

But the bench stood firm by its order saying all issues being raised had been addressed already.

A group of fire cracker traders on wednesday knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking modification of the October 9 order as per which sale of crackers were banned in Delhi/NCR till November 1.

They told the court that their licences were revived  after the apex court lifted the ban as per an order on September 12 and thereafter they  procured firecrackers for sale during Diwali.

Allowing the plea filed by three kids aged between two and four years, the Supreme Court, taking into consideration the “adverse effects” of burning crackers “witnessed year after year” had last Monday banned its sale forthwith.

The court was delivering verdict in the petition filed by Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin seeking restoration of the ban ordered on November 11 last year.

Their plea explained how children were the worst affected by pollution saying “their lungs are not fully developed, making their systems more vulnerable and prone to lung disease, asthma, coughing, bronchitis, and retarded development of the nervous system and cognitive impairment”.

The court, on petition by cracker manufacturers and license holders had lifted it on September 12 this year holding that the pollution control authorities had not given any “empirical data” to prove crackers was sole reason for extremely poor quality of air in Delhi-NCR post – Diwali.

The court found merit in the argument of Gopal Shankaranarayanan, the lawyer for the kids and father of Arjun Gopal that “ban imposed after last year’s Diwali has been lifted by SC precisely before this year’s Diwali season rendering it entirely without effect as it sustained for the 10 month period when large scale bursting of fireworks does not take place”

Making order lifting the ban effective only from November 1, the court said “We are of the view that the order suspending the licences should be given one chance to test itself in order to find out as to whether there would be positive effect of this suspension, particularly during Diwali period”, said the bench.

The court recounted that Delhi/ NCR witnessed a huge rise in air pollution during and after Diwali last year when poisonous smog enveloped the entire region for three days when pollutants in air where 30 times the permissible standards. “It leads to closing the schools and the authorities are compelled to take various measures on emergent basis, when faced with “health emergency” situation. 

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