Ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court on Tuesday came out with a series of directions regulating sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR), considering the health of the people. Modifying its November, 2016 order suspending all licenses permitting sale of crackers – wholesale and temporary – in NCR, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta lifted the suspension of permanent licenses but ordered that sale of firecrackers by permanent licensees must conform to its directions and comply with Explosives Rules. The court added this might require a review after Diwali, depending on the air quality then.
The bench asked authorities to ensure that no crackers are burst in the silence zones. “The concerned police authorities and district magistrate will ensure that fire crackers are not burst in distance silence zones, that is area of at least 100 metres away from hospitals, nursing homes, primary and district health care centres, education institutions, courts, religious places or any other area that may be declared as a Silence Zone by the concerned authorities,” said the court.
The order also pointed the need to do a study on the impact of bursting crackers on Dussehra and Diwali on people’s health. “In any event, a research study also needs to be conducted on the impact of bursting fireworks during Dussehra and Diwali on the health of the people,” the order said.
For this, the court appointed a “Committee to be chaired by the Chairperson of the CPCB and consisting of officers at the appropriate level from the National Physical Laboratory, Delhi, the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Timarpur, Delhi, the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, scientists from the State Pollution Control Boards, the Fire Development and Research Centre, Sivakasi and Nagpur and the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) nominated by the Chairperson of the CPCB” and asked them to submit a report in this regard “preferably on or before 31st December, 2017”.