NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined an urgent hearing of a plea filed by BJP MP Manoj Tiwari challenging the Delhi government’s decision to ban the sale and purchase and usage of firecrackers during the festive seasons in the national capital.
A bench headed by Justice M R Shah, while refusing the request for an urgent hearing, observed “let people breathe clean air”. The bench said there are other ways to celebrate festivals. “Spend your money on sweets,” said the Apex Court after advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, appearing for Tiwari mentioned the matter for urgent listing.
Earlier, the top court had refused to lift the ban on firecrackers in Delhi saying the court had already passed a detailed order regarding the usage of firecrackers and will not vacate the previous order. It had tagged Tiwari’s plea with the other pending cases.
Tiwari had challenged the Delhi government’s decision against the production, storage, sale and use of all types of firecrackers to curb the rising pollution levels in the national capital. Tiwari sought directions to the Aam Aadmi Party government to issue fresh guidelines with regard to the sale, purchase and bursting of permissible firecrackers during the upcoming festive season.
The BJP MP also sought directions to all states not to take any coercive action, like lodging FIR against common people found selling or using permissible firecrackers.
“In the name of the right to life, freedom of religion cannot be taken away and a balance has to be struck like that has been done through the decision of this court dated October 29, 2021,” the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey and Shashank Shekhar Jha said.
In 2021, the Supreme Court had clarified there is no blanket ban on the use of firecrackers and only those fireworks which contain barium salts are prohibited. The top court had banned the usage of firecrackers which are found to be injurious to health while making it clear that there was no blanket ban on crackers and that people can include permissible firecrackers to celebrate their festival, the plea said.
The petition has stated that several state governments and High Courts had, in 2021, passed orders contrary to the stand taken by the Supreme Court and imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers. Despite clear orders from the apex court, certain states and Union Territories didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure proper arrangements for the celebration of Deepawali and instead registered FIRs and imposed a curfew, the petition added.
The Delhi government registered 210 FIRs against common citizens and police arrested 143 people for bursting crackers whereas it lodged 125 FIR and arrested 138 people for selling crackers between September 28, 2021 and November 4, 2021, the petition stated.
The AAP government in Delhi, on September 7, imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers with immediate effect in the capital till January 1, 2023. (ANI)