People can burst low-emission ‘green’ firecrackers between 8-10 pm on Diwali: SC

People can burst low-emission 'green' firecrackers between 8-10 pm on Diwali: SC 1
The SC fixed a two-hour time period between 8-10 pm for bursting crackers on Diwali and a 35-minute window between 11:55 pm to 12:30 am for Christmas and New Year celebrations

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to impose a nationwide blanket ban on firecrackers and permitted the sale & manufacture of low emission “green” alternatives.

It also fixed a two-hour time period between 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting crackers on Diwali and a 35-minute window between 11:55 pm to 12:30 am for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

A bench comprising of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers online.

The apex court’s order came on a plea seeking a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.

The bench also said that e-commerce websites will be hauled up for contempt of court if they don’t adhere to the court’s direction.

“Firecrackers with permissible decibel sound limits will only be allowed to be sold in the market,” the bench said.

It said that Station House Officers of concerned police stations will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

The top court had earlier said there is a need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 130 crore people in the country while considering a plea for the ban.

The apex court had said the Article 21 (right to life) of Constitution applies to both segments of people and it needs to maintain a balance while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers.

Firecracker manufacturers earlier told the court that use of crackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated.

They had contended that crackers are not the reason for increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.

They had said firecracker manufacturers can be deprived of their right to do business based on statements which were not supported by facts.

On October 9 last year, the top court temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali.

Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.

The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on pollution levels in the region.

With agency inputs

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