The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed challenging the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order on the ban on the sale of firecrackers. While dismissing the petition, the apex court also dumped a study by IIT Kanpur which had shown that firecrackers are not among the top pollutants.
A Bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna was hearing an appeal filed by firecracker sellers. In a plea to reconsider the ban, Advocate Sai Deepak representing an individual seller had argued that an IIT-Kanpur report does not list firecrackers even in the list of top 15 contributors to air pollution.
Justice Khanwilkar: do you need IIT to understand that fire crackers impact your health? ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) July 23, 2021
However, the court refused to accept the IIT study, saying they don’t need IIT to know that firecrackers cause pollution. Justice Khanwilkar lashed out at the study saying, “Do you need IIT to understand that firecrackers impact your health? Ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali.”
The Bench while dismissing the plea said the authorities may permit the sale and use of firecrackers if the air quality (AQI) improves.
“Ban is only defendant on air category. If its severe it will not be not allowed. Ban is only where quality is poor. When the air quality is moderate green crackers are allowed. In other areas it is allowed,” the Court observed.
While announcing the order, the Bench made it clear that no interference is warranted in the current resolution.
“NGT Order is a graded approach taken by the Tribunal to the prevailing situation. No clarification needed. It was expressed that manufacturing activities will also be prohibited in the concerned area if the AQ falls. The (NGT) order does not deal with that. 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,” the Court ordered.
SC ORDER: 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.#supremecourt #firecrackers— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) July 23, 2021
A 2017 IIT-Kanpur report had revealed that the burning of firecrackers was one of the least contributors to air pollution in the national capital. As per the report, evidence suggests that construction dust may be the biggest culprit when it comes to air pollution followed by vehicular pollution and bad infrastructure.
Experts had observed that the air quality of the NCR had deteriorated despite no firecracker being burnt at the time of the study. The air in fact was the cleanest in the week of Diwali suggesting that the rise in pollutant values was observed during the peak of the winter season.