Only green crackers will be sold in Delhi-NCR this Diwali, the Supreme Court clarified on Wednesday, but added that the non-green ones already manufactured can be sold in other parts of the country for this season.
A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan came out with the order on pleas seeking clarification and modification of its October 23 order banning manufacture of non-green crackers and fixing time to burst crackers on various festive occasions.
The court had already ruled that green crackers will eventually replace other ones across the country, as and when their manufacturing increases next year.
The court also permitted bursting of crackers for one hour each in the morning (from 4 am to 5 am) and evening (from 9 pm to 10 pm) on the occasion of Guru Purab celebrations.
The bench had on Tuesday permitted Southern states, where Diwali crackers are burst in the morning, to fix their own schedule. The court, however, added that they must ensure that the two-hour time limit is not flouted.
The court’s order came on applications filed by firecracker manufacturers and traders who said there were no green crackers available as of now and they should be allowed to sell the existing stock this season.
Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for traders, cited the Centre’s affidavit which said that low-emission fireworks will be available only from June 2019 to impress the court. The court, however, did not agree.
Deciding petitions seeking a ban on crackers to fight growing air pollution, the court, while rooting for a “balanced approach”, had refused to order a complete ban on their sale and use, but had imposed stringent conditions regarding their composition and usage.
The bench also reiterated its direction of banning the use of barium salts to make crackers. Though the manufacturers contended that this was needed in the manufacture of crackers, the Centre submitted that 60 per cent of the crackers do not need barium for their production.
Deciding petitions seeking a ban on crackers to fight growing air pollution, the court, while rooting for a “balanced approach”, had refused to order a complete ban on their sale and use but had imposed stringent conditions regarding their composition and usage.
Applying the “precautionary principle” of environmental law, the bench ordered that henceforth, only crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers can be manufactured and sold.