The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to ban bursting of crackers during Diwali or direct authorities to earmark designated places for it, saying it was not possible to issue orders that cannot be implemented.
“If a citizen wants to burst crackers at his home, he can also come up and say I have the right to do so. This sort of direction cannot be given hurriedly,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu told senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi who appeared on behalf of three toddler petitioners.
The petition urged the court to issue an interim direction to authorities to restrict the duration of fireworks to just three hours and to identify specific areas for it.
“This is an unreasonable request. Today we can’t be saying go to a maidan to burst crackers,” the bench told the senior advocate.
The top court, however, reiterated its earlier direction which said crackers cannot be used between 10 pm and 6 am. The bench said it would hear the petition by the toddlers calling for a blanket ban in February 2016.
The bench also ordered the Centre to give wide publicity to the harmful effects of crackers so that people are dissuaded from buying them.
On being told by Singhvi that the government had not take any initiative as per its October 16 order, the court expressed unhappiness and said the advertisements should appear from October 30 to November 12.
Earlier, the Centre in its reply to the notice indicated it was not in favour of a blanket ban saying bursting of crackers during Diwali is not the only cause for air pollution.
The Centre said the “causes and mitigation of air pollution is multi-sectoral in nature and air pollution may be prevented, abated and controlled by a multi-disciplinary approach through joint efforts of various ministries/departments.”
The petition filed through the legal guardians of the toddlers demanded among other things, a total ban on the use of firecrackers during festivals.
Hindu organisations countered the petition saying bursting crackers on Diwali has been the Hindu tradition for hundreds of years and implementing a complete ban will hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
The petition was also opposed by an organisation of firecracker manufacturers saying the ban would seriously affect the industry and the livelihood of lakhs of workers.