Modifying its previous order on the timings of bursting firecrackers on Diwali, the Supreme Court Tuesday said states can fix the timings but it should not exceed two hours. “Timing for bursting firecrackers in places like Tamil Nadu, Puducherry will be changed but not exceed 2 hours a day,” the court said.
The direction came after the Tamil Nadu government moved court saying the festival in the state will be celebrated on the morning of November 6. It requested the court to extend the permitted time for bursting of firecrackers on Diwali, arguing that people of the state will be deprived of their right to celebrate the festival by bursting crackers.
The court also said its order on use of green crackers during Diwali was meant for Delhi-NCR and not pan-India.
On October 23, the top court had fixed 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting firecrackers on Diwali as it ruled out a complete ban. Applying the “precautionary principle” of environmental law, a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had ordered that only crackers with reduced emission and “green crackers” can be manufactured and sold. They will also have to stick to permissible noise emission standards.
The apex court also ordered a complete ban on all other crackers including joined firecrackers (series crackers or laris), which will apply not to just festivals, but also marriage ceremonies and other occasions where firecrackers are used. Crackers already produced, which do not fall in the improved or green category, cannot be sold in Delhi or NCR, the court said, and restricted their sale to only licensed traders, and restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling them online.
Meanwhile, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said it was unlikely that green crackers would be available in time for the festival. Vardhan said that technology and know-how was available on how to make green crackers, and this has been shared with firecracker manufacturers. “We have pursued this with manufacturers but we are also aware that this should not impact their livelihoods. So it will be done in a phased manner,” he added. Read More