Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dr. AK Sikri, Abhay Manohar Sapre and Ashok Bhushan, JJ banned the sale of fireworks in the Delhi-NCR area till November 1, 2017 in order to keep a check on the air pollution caused by bursting crackers. The Court said that the order suspending the licences should be given one chance to test itself in order to find out as to whether there would be positive effect of this suspension, particularly during Diwali period.
On the deteriorating air quality in NCR, the Court said:
“The air quality deteriorates abysmally and alarmingly and the city chokes thereby. It leads to closing the schools and the authorities are compelled to take various measures on emergent basis, when faced with ‘health emergency’ situation.”
The Court, however, clarified that it was not tweaking with the various directions contained in the Orders dated 12.09.2017 and hence, that order will be made effective only from November 01, 2017. On 12.09.2017, the ban imposed by the order dated 11.11.2016 was temporarily relaxed and the bench of Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ had given elaborate directions to check the health hazard caused by Diwali Fireworks in Delhi. The Court had also appointed a Committee to be chaired by the Chairperson of the CPCB and consisting of officers at the appropriate level from the National Physical Laboratory, Delhi, the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Timarpur, Delhi, the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, scientists from the State Pollution Control Boards, the Fire Development and Research Centre, Sivakasi and Nagpur and the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) nominated by the Chairperson of the CPCB to submit a report in this regard preferably on or before 31st December, 2017.
The Court directed that the temporary licences that the police may have issued after the order dated 12.09.2017, should be suspended forthwith so that there is no further sale of the crackers in Delhi and NCR.
In the present case, the Court was hearing the plea made by the petitioners who sought for restoration of the order of complete suspension of licences by restoring the Order passed on 11.11.2016. The Court refused to put a blanket ban on sale of crackers as of now and said that further orders in this behalf will be passed only after assessing the situation that would emerge after this Diwali season. [Arjun Gopal v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1203, decided on 09.10.2017]