Asserting that school children should be encouraged to refrain from bursting firecrackers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed police not to grant more than 500 temporary licences for retail sale of fireworks during the Dussehra-Diwali season and also capped the sale of fireworks at 5,000 tonnes.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta modified an apex court order passed on November 11 past year and allowed sale of firecrackers but directed the governemnt authorities to ensure that fireworks are not burst in silence zones and also restricted the Delhi Police not to grant temporary licenses to more than 500 shopkeepers.
According to reliable sources, changing its order in November 2016 order that suspended all the licenses granting permission for the sale of crackers in wholesale and temporary in Delhi. "This might require a review after Diwali, depending on the ambient air quality after the festival", it said.
"Have the steps already taken by the concerned authorities reduced air pollution during Diwali?"
It said the health of people in Delhi-NCR must take precedence over any commercial or other interest of the fire crackers manufacturers and a graded regulation was needed which would eventually result in prohibition.
"No specific plan of action has been laid down by the Government of NCT of Delhi to make children aware of the hazards of bursting fireworks and the existing awareness campaigns have been allowed to drift over the last one year", it said, adding "there is no information on the success or failure of these campaigns".
Similarly, the court said that Delhi police has issued directions that are hard to enforce such as restricting the time during which fireworks can be burst.
While lifting its suspension of valid permanent licences, a bench headed by a Bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur said that a graded and balanced rather than a radical approach was required to deal with pollution menace in the city. Consequently, 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.
For to reduce the pollution level Supreme Court bans entry of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR region for Dusshera and Diwali.
It observed that large number of temporary licences were issued for possession and sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR and there was a need to regulate the availability and sale of fire crackers here.
The Supreme Court today took the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to task for not conducting any study on the harmful effects of materials used in the manufacture of fire crackers despite its directions, saying it was "really disturbed".