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SC modifies Diwali order: States to decide 2 hour slot for firecrackers, green firecrackers only for NCR

The court said that low polluting green firecrackers order is meant only for Delhi-NCR, people in other states can use normal firecrackers.

Today the Supreme Court of India partially modified its 23 October order putting strict restrictions on the use of firecrackers during Diwali. The Court had said that fireworks can be done only for two hours between 8 PM and 10 PM, and only low polluting ‘Green Firecrackers’ can be used. The apex court had also banned the production and sale of existing non-green firecrackers.

Following this order, the government of Tamil Nadu had approached the supreme court, saying that people in the state do fireworks in the morning during Diwali and requested the court to allow bursting of firecrackers from 4.30 AM to 6.30 AM. The Tamil Nadu government argued in the petition that the people of the state will be “deprived” of their rights of celebrating the festival by bursting crackers if the order is not modified.

Responding to this plea, the court has now allowed state governments to fix the time when to burst firecrackers but said that total time to do so can’t exceed two hours. The court also suggested that Southern states can allow 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon for firecrackers, where there is a tradition of bursting firecrackers in the morning.

In another signification modification, the court said that low polluting green firecrackers order is meant only for Delhi-NCR, people in other states can use normal firecrackers.

In may be noted that this provision was actually included in the October 23 order itself, which most people had missed. Section 42 (viii) of the order stated:

Even those crackers which have already been produced and they do not fulfill the conditions mentioned in Suggestion Nos. II and III above will not be allowed to be sold in Delhi and NCR.

It clearly stated that the ‘polluting’ firecrackers that already have been produced can’t be sold only in Delhi NCR, there was no ban on selling those firecrackers in other states. Perhaps the court was aware that manufacturers have already produced firecrackers worth crores for this year, and green firecrackers can’t be produced for the entire nation in such a short span, and that’s why the existing firecrackers are allowed to be used in rest of the country, at least for this year.

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