SC refuses complete ban on sale of firecrackers; safer crackers allowed from 8 to 10 pm on Diwali

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled against imposing complete ban on firecrackers, but has said that only less polluting green crackers can be sold, that too only through licensed traders. The Court has banned online sale of firecrackers, restraining e-commerce websites from carrying out its sale.

The Court also fixed duration for bursting of crackers. On the day of Diwali and other religious festivals, it will be between 8 PM and 10 PM. On Christmas eve and New Year, it will be allowed only between 11.45 pm to 12.45 am. The Court has also ordered that crackers can be burst only in designated areas.
Only crackers that are within noise pollution limits set in July 2005 verdict will be allowed. “Ladi” or chain firecrackers, are banned.

Only licensed traders can sell firecrackers, that too safer ones with reduced emission and permitted chemicals, the judges said.

Crackers cannot be sold online and if they are, such e-commerce sites will be hauled up for contempt.

The police officer in charge of an area will be responsible for any violation of the new rules. For now, no cracker complies with the court’s description.
On October 9 last year, the court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. The ban was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels, the judges had said.

In hearings, the court had noted that Article 21 of the constitution on the Right to Life – a plea used by the petitioners – applied to all, including cracker-makers, and a balance was needed while considering a countrywide ban.

“Supreme Court’s orders are not very strict. We were expecting complete ban but that has not happened,” said the lawyer for the Central Pollution Control Board.

The air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, has risen above 300 in parts of Delhi in recent days. Anything above 100 is considered unhealthy by the Central Pollution Control Board.

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