States other than Delhi-NCR can use existing stocks of firecrackers for Diwali this year: SC

States other than Delhi-NCR can use existing stocks of firecrackers for Diwali this year: SC

News:

  1. The Supreme Court (SC) has imposed conditions for the use and sale of firecrackers in the upcoming Diwali, Christmas and New year eve.

Important Facts:

  1. According to SC ruling, once the existing stocks of crackers are used up, no new polluting crackers can be made in the cracker factories.
  2. The Supreme Court also clarified that only “green crackers” will be sold in the Delhi-NCR region during this Diwali and other festivals.
  3. It, however, allowed the firecrackers which have already been produced to be sold in other parts of the country this Diwali and other festivals and occasions.
  4. Background:
  • The ban came on the basis of a petition filed by two infants through their fathers in 2015. Who pleaded for their right to life.
  1. About the SC partial ban:
  • Fixed time slots: The reduced time window is applicable across the country.
  • The judgment reduced the time for bursting crackers during Deepavali and other festivals to two hours: between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • For Christmas and New Year, the time slot allowed is just half-an-hour, between 11.55 p.m. and half-past midnight.
  • Licenced traders: SC restricted the sale of green and improved crackers only through licensed traders.
  • Banned sale via online sites: Any e-commerce company found selling crackers online will be held for contempt of court, and the court may also impose monetary penalties in that eventuality.
  • Community engagement: It also directed the Centre to encourage community cracker bursting during Diwali and other festivals in Delhi-NCR.
  • Decibel levels: The firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dB at four metres distance from the point of bursting shall be banned.
  1. Exemption to southern states:
  • The court has allowed Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the adjoining southern States, which celebrate Diwali in the morning, to burst crackers for two hours in the day
  • TN had earlier challenged the SC order of fixed time slots violating its people right to religion protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The decision to finalise the time slots has been left to the respective State authorities.
  1. Significance of the ban:
  • Right balance: The Supreme Court has struck a balance between the interests of the firecracker industry and the right to public health by allowing the manufacture and sale of only “green” and reduced-emission or “improved” crackers, while banning those that are loud and toxic to man, animal and the environment.
  1. Opposing the ban:
  • Business persons dealing with firecrackers defended their case quoting other reasons for increase in air pollution like wind and temperature and said that ban would deprive them of their right to do business.
  • The Centre, too, has opposed a complete ban on the sale of crackers during festivities across the country.

 

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