“It would be in the interest of environment not to subject the entire population to burst firecrackers within a stipulated short time as it would lead to a larger volume of emissions within a short span.”
On 23 October 2018, the Supreme Court made a judgement refusing to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers. Instead, it limited the time to two hours, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The apex court also ruled that only green crackers could be sold in the country. You can read the details here.
Following this, the Tamil Nadu government had approached the SC, requesting for permission to lift the ban for the state from 4:30– 6:30 a.m. This is because, states in South India celebrate Diwali at the crack of dawn, symbolizing the death of Narakasura.
Following this appeal, the SC bench, comprising of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan have modified the earlier judgement. Here are six things to know about it:
1. Tamil Nadu’s plea, filed through state counsel B Vinod Khanna said that Diwali is celebrated in different ways in different sects and regions.
Therefore, it said, the two-hour window issued by the top court would be “rejecting the people with their due religious rights and would subject the people of the state into much hardship.”
2. “It would be in the interest of environment not to subject the entire population to burst firecrackers within a stipulated short time as it would lead to a larger volume of emissions within a short span. Permitting people to burst firecrackers at two different times with due intervals would facilitate dissemination of the smoke,” according to the plea.
3. In response, the bench said that the judgement passed on October 23rd was restricted to Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).
4. Other states, like Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, have the freedom to allocate time to burst firecrackers according to the traditions they follow, it said.
However, the allocated time should not exceed two hours.
5. “On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurpurab when such fireworks generally take place, it would strictly be from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On Christmas Eve and New Year eve, when such fireworks start around midnight, i.e., 12:00 a.m., it would be from 11:55 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. only,” the Supreme court had ruled. This rule prevails.
6. Speaking about the green crackers advocated by the court, it said that they would possibly come in the market next year. To quote the counsels, “The green crackers will come only in July 2019 and not before that. We are seeking some kind of modalities of regularisation so that it does not become complete ban this year.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)