Are you planning to buy firecrackers for your children to burst this Diwali? Then, think green. The Supreme Court has ruled against the sale of polluting and noisy crackers. Here's what you must know.
By Siddiqha Naseem
If you are a parent concerned about rising pollution levels caused by bursting firecrackers during festivals, you now have reason to rejoice. Ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court (SC) of India has, today allowed the sale and use of only 'green' firecrackers with reduced emission levels. However, the country's highest court has ruled out a blanket ban on firecrackers. Instead, the court has put in place several restrictions on the sale and use of crackers.
The verdict follows petitions by activists seeking a complete ban on firecrackers, citing the environmental pollution caused as also the adverse effects on public health.
1. 'Green' crackers:
Before you go shopping for crackers with your child, make sure you buy only 'green' ones, this Diwali. The court has granted permission for the sale and use of ‘green crackers’ that are environment-friendly.
2. Decibel limits:
The court restricted the sale of crackers that flout norms in terms of noise and emission levels and, cause health problems. This will ensure the nation can have an eco-friendly Diwali.
3. Time period:
The highest court of the land has ruled that firecrackers can be burst within a limited time period — from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Diwali nights. The court has also allowed the bursting of firecrackers from 11:45 pm to 12:15 am for Christmas and New Year.
4. Community cracker bursting:
The SC has encouraged members of the public to explore the viability of bursting crackers as a community, not only for Diwali but all festivals celebrated across the country.
5. Online sale of crackers:
According to the court verdict, e-commerce websites are not allowed to sell firecrackers beyond the permissible limit. Websites that do not adhere to the SC decision shall be held in contempt.
According to the SC verdict:
“When the court is called upon to protect the right to life, economic effect of a particular measure for the protection of such right to health will have to give way to this fundamental right".
6. Regional police stations to regulate:
The SC has advised manufacturers to strictly adhere to these rules and not sell banned firecrackers. Officers of regional police stations will be held liable if there is sale of firecrackers that do not come under permissible limits, in their jurisdictional areas.
7. Petition by activists:
The verdict was given in response to several Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed in the SC by activists, seeking the imposition of a complete ban on the use and manufacture of firecrackers across the country. Last year, the court had imposed a temporary ban on firecrackers.
8. The plea by manufacturers:
Manufacturers of firecrackers across the country had petitioned the court that the use and making of fireworks should not be completely banned. However, their use can be strictly regulated.
9. Supreme Court bench
The SC verdict was announced today by a judicial bench comprising judges A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan. The bench has added that though the right to health was part of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 and assumed “greater importance,” the “endeavour” of the court right now was to strive for a balance between the right to public health and the right to occupation of the industry.
10. A similar case
In 2015, three young children, Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin, had filed a petition in the SC through their lawyer fathers, seeking a ban on the use of firecrackers. The children, all residents of Delhi, had sought a ban in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) area. At that time, the trio had contended in their plea that children are the worst affected by pollution.
It is important to note here that the SC has urged members of the public to comply with it's verdict. We wish all children are able to enjoy a beautiful, noise-free and smoke-free festival. And do remember the restrictions put forth by the SC before you go shopping for Diwali firecrackers. We hope you will celebrate a safe and green Diwali!
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