Firecrackers will be available to the Delhi NCR inhabitants for the approaching festive season of Dussehra and Diwali as the Supreme Court lifted the ban on their sale. The court stated that a more balanced and graded approach is required to deal with the increasing pollution in the city rather than resorting to a radical attitude.
An apex court order passed in November last year was modified by the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta to allow sale of the firecrackers along with the instructions to the authorities to see that they are not burned in the silence zones also, the Delhi Police is restricted to grant licenses to 500 shopkeepers only.
The court stated that although the people residing in the NCT and NCR are entitled to breathe the unpolluted air there is no strong evidence to prove it that the excessive air pollution during the last year was primarily due to fire crackers. "A complete ban on the sale of fireworks would be an extreme step that might not be fully warranted by the facts available to us," maintained the bench.
The court cleared that the balanced and graded approach in no way intends to dilute the main concern of health of the people and their right to breathe in good quality air and it has precedence over the personal interest of the applicants. The bench observed that no injustice is done to the ones who already are in the possession of valid license.
The bench also ensured that transport of fireworks into Delhi and NCR is prohibited as it urged the traders to do away with their present stocks of 50,00,000 kg. It instructed the government agencies to restrict the entry of fireworks in Delhi NCR until the next order and raised a ban on the use of compounds of antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic, lead and strontium chromate in fireworks.
The court rebuked the Delhi government and police for failing in taking up the required preventive measures to control pollution caused by firecrackers and directed the Education department of NCT government to come up with a plan to generate awareness amongst the masses, especially in children, about the harmful effects of the pollution on the health.
The bench appointed a high level committee comprising of CPCB, National Physical Laboratory, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, IIT Kanpur, Fire Development and Research Centre,National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) representatives as well as scientists from the State Pollution Control Boards to carry out a study to know about the ill-effect on health of the people caused by fireworks during Dussehra and Diwali. The committee which is headed by CPCB chairman is expected to give its report by the year end.