Time slot of bursting firecrackers during Diwali for ‘Southern States’ modified; earlier order clarified:SC

Supreme Court: The 2-Judge Bench comprising of A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. modified the Arjun Gopal v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2118, decision by modifying the time span of bursting firecrackers in southern states.

The Bench vide order dated 30.10.2018 stated that the time mentioned of bursting the firecrackers during ‘Diwali’ as mentioned in the earlier judgment of this Court was 8.00 p.m till 10.00 p.m which is now to be modified for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and other ‘Southern States’ to 2 hours in the entire day.

The stated two hours slot has to be decided by the state government.

The Supreme Court vide order dated 31-10-2018 stated:

After hearing the counsel for the parties, we are inclined to give following clarifications:

  1. (a)  Henceforth, production of crackers with reduced emission(improved crackers and green crackers) is permitted, as already directed in order dated October 23, 2018. It would also mean that barium salts in the manufacture of firecrackers will not be used.
  2. (b)  In direction No. (ii) where sale of crackers other than reduced emission is banned, it is clarified that this sale is banned in Delhi and NCR. Thus, direction No. (viii) would continue to operate. In other areas, the crackers which have already been produced would be allowed to be sold for this Diwali and other festivals and occasions.
  3. (c)  Insofar as Direction No. (xiv) is concerned, in respect of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry and other Southern States are concerned, this Court has already modified the said direction vide order dated 30.10.2018. We further clarify that on the occasion of Gurpurab also, fireworks shall be allowed for one hour in the morning i.e. 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and one hour in the evening i.e. 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

(2) It is also clarified that pan India directions pertain to:

(a)Community fire cracking. Here, direction is to explore the feasibility of community fire works.

(b)Duration within which fireworks can take place i.e. for two hours as contained in direction No. (xiv) and modified vide order dated October 30, 2018 as well as this order. This also is applicable throughout India.

(c) Direction No. (xiii) which deals with extensive pubic awareness campaign also applies throughout India.

(d)In addition, direction regarding production of crackers with reduced emission, restraining e-commerce websites for selling firecrackers, also applies throughout India.

(e) Likewise, the aforesaid pan India directions will be enforced by the police authorities and, thus, direction No. (xvi) to police shall also be applicable throughout India.

(f) Direction No. (xvii) which is regarding the effect of pollution of all categories is also applicable to all the States.

We make it clear that apart from the above, no other modification is carried out in order dated October 23, 2018.

Directions given in  Supreme Court decision of Arjun Gopal v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2118:

  • Complete ban on manufacture and sale of all fireworks which are high emission. Therefore all existing fireworks like sparklers, flower pots, chakras, rockets, and crackers stand banned.
  • Only “green” and low emission fireworks which will have to be made in future are permitted, once cleared by PESO.
  • Any of those fireworks which are green or low emission when invented will be permitted to be used only in community areas as demarcated and not in front of everybody’s houses.
  • Any violation of the sale of prohibited fireworks or their use or the bursting of permitted fireworks in non designated areas will be the responsibility of the respective SHO who can be hauled up for contempt of the Supreme Court.
  • No E-Commerce site can sell any of the traditional Fireworks and if they do so they will be guilty of contempt of Supreme Court as well.
  • It will be the responsibility of PESO to ensure that all existing fireworks are disposed of and not permitted to be sold.
  • On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurupurab, when fireworks generally take place, it would strictly be from 8:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. only. On Christmas and New Year eve, when such fireworks start around midnight, i.e. 12:00 a.m., it would be from 11:55 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. only.
  • Union of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and the State Governments of the NCR would permit community fire cracking only (for Diwali and other festivals etc.)

Further, the direction regarding the use of green crackers was meant for the Delhi-NCR region and was not pan India.[ Arjun Gopal v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 728 of 2015, Order dated 31-10-2018]


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