SC, Delhi HC stand against lifting ban on firecrackers; apex court bats for ‘clean air’ | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a plea by BJP leader Manoj Tiwari seeking an urgent hearing on a petition challenging the blanket ban on firecrackers in Delhi ahead of Diwali, due on October 24. Voicing concern about the air quality in the national capital, the top court said there are other ways to celebrate the festival and ditch firecrackers.
A bench headed by Justice MR Shah said, “Let people breathe clean air and spend money on sweets instead.”
Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, representing Tiwari, contended that the pollution is also rising due to stubble burning. However, the bench said it will hear the matter later.
Tiwari said the plea was filed to protect the interests of the public at large who are being harassed for celebrating Diwali which is deemed to be one of the most important festivals of the Hindus.
“That despite of the clear order of this court refusing to put a blanket ban on the firecrackers, various respondents have put a blanket ban on the storage, sale and use of all types of firecrackers in year 2021 and subsequently taken coercive step against the buyer, purchaser and users of the same”, said the plea, which had made all state governments and union territories as respondents in the
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai had on Wednesday said bursting firecrackers on Diwali in the national capital would attract jail term up to six months and a fine of Rs 200. Production, storage and sale of firecrackers in the capital will be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 5,000 and three years jail, under Section 9B of the Explosives Act, the minister had said.
The Delhi High Court, earlier on Thursday, refused to entertain a petition challenging Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) complete ban on sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers.
Justice Yashwant Varma dismissed the petition by two merchants who sought to “purchase, sell and store only green crackers” during the festive season, and said it was not appropriate for the high court to independently examine such a challenge when the issue “does appear to be engaging the attention” of the top court.
The court, however, said the petitioners were free to initiate appropriate proceedings under the law to seek redressal of their grievances.
“From the material placed on record, the court notes the issue of pollution as a result of use of firecracker during Diwali was first considered by the Supreme Court (in a case). The petitioner remains pending on the board of the Supreme Court. Subsequently, another writ petition came to be preferred before the Supreme Court seeking the issuance of guidelines in respect of sale, purchase and bursting of permissible firecrackers. The writ petition also produces some of the banning orders issued by few states,” the court noted.
“While this writ petition stands dismissed, this order shall not preclude the petitioner from initiating such proceedings as may be permitted in law,” it said.
Green cracker merchants Shiva Fireworks and Jai Mata Stores had approached the high court last month, assailing the ban imposed by the DPCC on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the city during the upcoming months. They had claimed in the plea that the “last-minute ban” imposed by the DPCC on September 14 was arbitrary and illegal, and adversely affected their livelihood.
(with agency inputs)

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