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Do you need IIT to understand: SC nixes plea against ban on firecrackers

IANS | July 23, 2021 04:04 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers amid Covid-19 pandemic in Delhi-NCR and other cities, having poor air quality index (AQI).

A bench comprising justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna noted that authorities are permitted to allow sale and use of firecrackers depending on the AQI in the city. The bench added that NGT order was clear and there is no need for further deliberation on the matter. It emphasized that the residents of Delhi are aware of effects of use of firecrackers, especially during Diwali when pollution levels spike.

Advocate Sai Deepak J, representing a seller of firecrackers, submitted that according to IIT Kanpur report, firecracker is not even on the list of top 15 factor, which contribute towards air pollution.

The bench said: "Do you need IIT to understand that firecrackers impact your health? Ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali."

Senior Advocate PS Narasimha, appearing for firecracker sellers/ dealers, submitted that a total ban has been imposed on firecrackers during COVID. The bench responded that the ban was imposed in cities where air quality is poor and added that ban is only on sales and not on manufacture.

"Ban is only defendant on air quality. If its severe it will not be allowed. Ban is only where quality is poor. When the air quality is moderate green crackers are allowed, " the bench said. Narasimha said there is ban on sales too. The bench responded there has to be a ban on sales too in areas where AQI is poor.

The observations were made by the top court during the hearing of an appeal by firecracker sellers and dealers challenging the order of NGT. Dismissing the appeals, the top court said if air quality improves, the authorities may permit sale and use of firecrackers.

Citing the NGT order, the top court said the tribunal had taken a graded approach and no clarification was needed. "If the situation is covered by earlier general directions of this court, it must be followed in letter and spirit. These appeals are devoid of merit and are dismissed, " said the bench.

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