Case BriefsSupreme Court

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]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 2- Judge Bench comprising of A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ., gave directions to be followed for burning of crackers while refusing the complete ban on the sale of firecrackers as it may lead to “extreme economic hardships” (observing without conclusively holding) and further stating that there have been lots of efforts for production of firecrackers which do not contain harmful chemicals and thereby not causing air pollution, which are even termed as Green Crackers’.

The present petition was filed by next friends of three infants concerning the health of the children as due to the alarming degradation of the air quality, leading to severe air pollution in the city of Delhi, the petitioners may encounter various health hazards. Children are much more vulnerable to air pollutants as exposure thereto may affect them in various ways. Further, they have submitted that air pollution hits its nadir during Diwali time because of indiscriminate use of firecrackers.

In light of the above submissions, the petitioners have prayed for directions to the official respondents to take possible measures for checking the pollution by sticking at the causes of the pollution.

The Supreme Court on duly considering the submissions of the parties and taking note of the reports based on earlier orders of the Supreme Court concerning the same issue, stated that bursting of firecrackers during Diwali is not the only reason for deterioration of air quality, the other reasons which contribute to the issue are unregulated construction activity and crop burning. Further, the Court stated that “our endeavor is to strive at balancing of two rights, namely, right of the petitioners under Article 21 and right of the manufacturers and traders under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

Respondent 1, on the direction of Apex Court’s earlier order, filed an affidavit in consultation with various ministries to deal with the problems and issues as stated above, which have been accepted by the Supreme Court and further direction has been given for the implementation of the same. The directions given by the Court have been stated below in a succinct manner:

  • 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.)

Therefore, the Court having regard to the overall circumstances, decided to have a balanced approach to tackle the stated issue which may take care of the concerns of both the parties and provide a reasonable and adequate solution. [Arjun Gopal v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2118, decided on 23-10-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court:  The 3-Judge Bench of Dr AK Sikri, Abhay Manohar Sapre and Ashok Bhushan, JJ., in an earlier judgment of Arjun Gopal v. Union of India, (2017) 16 SCC 267 had refused to put a blanket ban on the sale of crackers.

A Division bench comprising of AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ in an order dated 01-08-2018 stated that it would examine whether there should be a blanket ban on the use of firecrackers due to the air pollution in Delhi being touched to danger mark during Diwali.

The Supreme Court bench had in regard to the blanket ban stated that “Are we supposed to take a holistic approach and ban everything that contributes to pollution or take an ad-hoc approach and simply ban firecrackers?”

The matter was further listed for 08-08-2018.

[Source: PTI]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

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]