The Central government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a complete ban on the bursting of firecrackers on Diwali was not required in the capital, since the existing rules include adequate provisions to make the night peaceful for people in Delhi and to control the noise levels.
Submitting its affidavit in response to a PIL seeking a complete ban on firecrackers on Diwali, the Ministry of Environment and Forests stated that various guidelines have been put in place, in the wake of concerns expressed by the top court in the past, and hence a blanket ban may not be entirely called for.
Under the current rules, the bursting of firecrackers is prohibited in the capital between 10 pm and 6 am.
“Through the last amendment dated January 11, 2010, the issues have been addressed in line with the Supreme Court orders from time to time. Stress has been laid on making the night peaceful. The ‘night time’ has been defined (10 pm to 6 am) and restrictions have been imposed on the use of horns, sound emitting construction equipment and bursting of firecrackers during the night time,” stated the affidavit, citing the Noise Rules, 2000.
Further, the noise standards for firecrackers have been notified under the Environment Protection Rules, 1986, “so as to prohibit manufacture, sale or use of firecrackers generating noise level” exceeding the stipulated norms, as per the government.
It added that while a “designated authority”, which could be a senior police officer or administrative officer, can also issue appropriate directives for a crackdown on noise, various other laws also regulate use, manufacture and storage of fire crackers.
The ministry said it has also notified the source-specific standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from several categories of industries and processes involved, besides prescribing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu will examine the government’s reply on Wednesday as it hears the PIL filed by the parents on behalf of three toddlers — all aged between 6 and 14 months — seeking imminent steps to curb air pollution in Delhi, including a ban on fire crackers during Diwali.
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