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[Crackers Ban] SC Modifies Telangana HC's Order Banning Firecrackers In The State In Line With NGT's Directions Of November 9

Sanya Talwar
13 Nov 2020 10:02 AM GMT
[Crackers Ban] SC Modifies Telangana HCs Order Banning Firecrackers In The State In Line With NGTs Directions Of November 9
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The Supreme Court on Friday modified the order of Telangana High Court which imposed a complete and immediate ban on the sale and use of firecrackers across the state during Diwali to fall in line with the directions imposed by the National Green Tribunal on November 9.A vacation bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar & Sanjiv Khanna issued notice on the petition and stated that the NGT's...

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The Supreme Court on Friday modified the order of Telangana High Court which imposed a complete and immediate ban on the sale and use of firecrackers across the state during Diwali to fall in line with the directions imposed by the National Green Tribunal on November 9.

A vacation bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar & Sanjiv Khanna issued notice on the petition and stated that the NGT's guidelines applied to the State of Telangana and that, it shall comply with the directions in letter and spirit.

"All concerned with the state of Telangana must comply with the directions in letter in spirit. We are conscious of the fact that the Respondents are not served but in view of the peculiar situation and urgency involved, the impugned order stands modified in line with the NGT directions issued on November 9, 2020"
- Supreme Court

The National Green tribunal on Monday, had imposed a total ban on sale/ use of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi NCR from the midnight of November 9-10, 2020 to the midnight of November 30 - December 1, 2020.

However, in places where AQI is deemed moderate or below had been permitted to sell green crackers and there use was restricted to two hours during festivals.

The direction was passed by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, in a batch of petitions seeking remedial action against pollution by use of fire crackers in NCR.

During the last hearing, the Tribunal had issued notices to 18 States and Union Territories, in addition to Delhi NCR, to consider measures for improving the air quality.

The Tribunal had further stated that at other places, ban/restrictions are optional for the authorities but if there are more stringent measures under orders of the authorities, the same shall prevail.

The instant plea had been filed by an Association comprising manufacturers and dealers of firecrackers agains the November 12 order of Telangana High Court.

The Telangana Fire Works Dealers Association & submitted that the Petitioners are seriously affected by the High Court order as despite the Petitioner-Association being a proper and necessary party, the order was passed without making them party to the proceedings and without considering the impact of the order on livelihood of its members.

It has further been submitted that the order was passed without providing an opportunity to the Association to represent itself, which is a clear violation of principles of natural justice.

The plea goes on to aver that the timing of the order, being the eve of Deepavali, has the potential to lead to immense financial hardship to the members of the Petitioner-Association.

"The business of firecrackers is a seasonal business for which heavy investments have been made by the members of the Petitioner Association and a ban on the sale and use of the same that too on such short notice would lead to immense hardships for the members of the Association. The said ban is also violative of the Fundamental Rights under Article 19 and 21 of the members of the Petitioners herein", the plea notes.

Cases such as Arjun Gopal and Ors v. Union of India have been referred to, in order to drive home the point that the High Court has previously laid down norms pertaining to the use and manufacture of green firecrackers in a controlled manner. It was also observed by the Court that "a complete ban would not serve the interest of justice".

Averring that the impugned order was rendered without taking into consideration the pendency of proceedings in Arjun Gopal wherein directions were given from time to time keeping in view the Air Quality Index and other factors, the plea prays for an ex-parte ad-interim stay on the operation and effect of the impugned order.

Furthermore, raising questions such as whether the impugned order was passed without paying heed to the violation of fundamental rights and principles of natural justice as well as the adverse impact on members of the Petitioner-Association, the petition seeks for an urgent early hearing.

On 12th November, the High Court for State of Telangana at Hyderabad ordered the State Government to ban the sale and bursting of crackers in the State, and directed them to give wide publicity to the ban. Despite being informed that the NGT guidelines were being followed by the State, the Court observed that the use of firecrackers might contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

The Petitioner-Association is being represented by Advocate-on-Record Somanadri Goud Khatam, and Advocates Pranav Diesh, Mohammad Ibrahim and CH Jayakrishna.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had refused to interfere with a similar order passed by the Calcutta High Court banning fireworks during Diwali, Kali Puja, Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud observed that preservation of life was more important during the pandemic than the celebration of festivals.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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