In a stern action to curb air pollution during the ongoing wedding season, the Supreme Court in November 2016 suspended the licences of all firecracker sellers in Delhi and National Capital Region, virtually banning their sale and purchase. This should not be construed to mean that the other Rules need not be enforced - all Rules should be enforced.
"The graded and balanced approach is not meant to dilute our primary concern which is and remains the health of everybody and the human right to breathe good quality air or at least not be compelled to breathe poor quality air". The area of distribution of the temporary licences is entirely for the authorities to decide.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday added that firecrackers can not be brought into Delhi-NCR from other states. The order was based on a slew of petitions to ban the use of fireworks.
(3) The directions issued and restrictions imposed in the order passed by this Court on 18th July, 2005 in Noise Pollution (V) shall continue to be in force. School children should be encouraged to reduce, if not eliminate, the bursting of fireworks as a part of any festivities.
"The response of the Government of NCT of Delhi is lethargic with the absence of any keenness to take proactive steps".
The apex court today lifted "for the time being" its order of suspending the permanent licences for sale and retail of fire crackers within the National Capital Region (NCR) by modifying its order of November a year ago. However, this year Diwali came on 19th October 2017. The transportation of firecrackers to the Delhi and NCR banned on Sep 12th. The court added this might require a review after Diwali, depending on the air quality then. This might be ambient air quality post Diwali. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), which issues the permanent licences, would have to ensure compliance.
The above order also marked that a study should be made on the impact of bursting crackers on Dussehra and Diwali on people's health.
A bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta also asked the Centre to promote display of fireworks through community participation rather than individual bursting of crackers.