The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that there will be no sale of firecrackers during Diwali, as it restored a November 2016 order, banning the sale and stocking of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
The apex court was hearing a plea seeking restoration of its last year's order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.
India's Supreme Court hopes the ban, which will last until 1 November, will help improve air quality in New Delhi.
Supreme Court on 9 October has chose to ban crackers in New Delhi and the national capital region due to pollution reasons. The apex court's idea here, it seems, is to test whether or not firecrackers really add to the overall levels of pollution in the capital.
This very situation, the court said, had occurred on the very next morning after Diwali in the year 2016 and "resulted in passing the order dated November 11, 2016". It directed the Delhi Police to reduce the number of temporary licences by 50 per cent and cap it at 500.
People who have already purchased fireworks will be able to use them during the festivities, but new ones can not be sold.
A year ago officials said levels of Particulate Matter or PM 10, considered hazardous to health, rose to 999 micrograms per cubic metre which is above the safe limit of 100.
Interestingly, an IIT-Kanpur research paper commissioned by the Delhi Government in 2016 has found that the pollution levels in the month of November 2013 were higher than the day on which Diwali was celebrated.
After the Supreme Court decision, shutters came down on at least 30 shops selling firecrackers in the massive old Delhi market.
The blanket ban has been brought in ten days before the Hindu festival of Diwali when millions of fireworks are traditionally set off in the city.
"This is the first step in a long fight to clean up the air in the city", Saurabh Bhasin, father of Zoya Rao Bhasin, one of petitioners, told reporters.
" The court has not banned the use of firecrackers".
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