SC modifies order on firecracker sale in Delhi-NCR

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In November previous year, the court had suspended all licenses for sale and retail of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.

It temporarily modified its earlier order suspending the permanent licences for sale of fire crackers in NCR, saying a complete ban would be an "extreme step" to curb pollution caused by them. Disposing of an application filed by fireworks' manufacturers based in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said "The health of people in Delhi and NCR must take precedence over any commercial or other interest of the applicant, or any of the permanent licensees and, therefore, a graded regulation is necessary which would eventually result in a prohibition". "A complete ban on the sale of fireworks would be an extreme step that might not be fully warranted by the facts available to us", it said.

This might require a review after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality post-Diwali.

Previous year on November 11, the apex court has ordered suspension of all licences permitting the sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within NCR till further orders. After the ban, licences of the existing firecrackers sellers were suspended and no new licenses were permitted by the government.

The order also revokes the suspension of valid permanent licences to possess and sell fireworks in Delhi and NCR.

However, it passed various directions for regulating temporary licences.

It also directed the police authorities and the District Magistrates to ensure that crackers are not burst in silence zones and has asked the Department of Education to formulate an action plan in 15 days with a view to sensitizing school children on the health hazards of pollution. Now on Tuesday Supreme court once again raised an issue over the entry of crackers in Delhi-NCR.

The Bench directed the Delhi Police to allow only up to 500 temporary licences this year.

These license-holders must fully comply with the Explosive Rules.

"Have the steps already taken by the concerned authorities reduced air pollution during Diwali?"

It also appointed a high level committee consisting of representatives from CPCB, National Physical Laboratory, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, IIT Kanpur, Fire Development and Research Centre, National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and scientists from the State Pollution Control Boards to conduct a study on adverse health impact on people due to bursting fireworks during Dussehra and Diwali.

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