With Diwali drawing closer and concerns over air pollution rising, the Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its judgment on Tuesday on a plea seeking a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country. The plea is aimed at curbing the spike in particulate matter (PM) levels in the air.
The apex court had earlier, on August 28, reserved its verdict in the matter. A bench of Supreme Court Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had expressed the need to take into account the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country. Before deciding on a ban on firecrackers, the court said it needs to look into the interests of both segments of people and strike a balance.
The Supreme Court had asked the Centre to suggest pollution control measures and to estimate the effects of firecrackers on the public at large.
Earlier, on August 8, the top court said a rise in PM 2.5 levels in the air is a severe problem as the particulate matter remains in people’s lungs, leading to serious health implications.
Meanwhile, the firecrackers manufacturers had appealed for a strict regulation instead of an absolute ban on the use of firecrackers. Defending their case, they also argued that the crackers are not the reason for increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.
They had further said the firecracker manufacturers cannot be deprived of their right to do business based on statements which were not supported by facts.
The Supreme Court had, on October 9 last year, temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali and refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.
The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels in the region.
With PTI inputs