166 arrested, 315 cases registered against those burst crackers in violation of court guidelines
New Delhi: The police arrested 166 persons and registered 315 cases against people found bursting firecrackers on Diwali night in violation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines, the Delhi Police said on Monday.
The same night, the police also arrested another 44 persons for selling firecrackers and booked them under the stringent Indian Explosives Act, seizing 3,765kg of banned firecrackers from them in the process. Of these, 1,320kg were seized from a general store in east Delhi’s Jyoti Nagar in the early hours of Sunday, said Ved Prakash Surya, deputy commissioner of police (north-east).
The number of cases and arrests this time were far fewer than those made on Diwali last year when the Delhi Police arrested 310 people and registered 562 cases. The police also arrested 87 people for selling illegal firecrackers and recovered 2,776kg of firecrackers in 2018.
Anil Mittal, additional PRO, Delhi Police, attributed the decrease in cases and arrests to the increased police presence on the ground and better awareness among citizens.
“The DCP of each district was on the street to ensure compliance with the court’s directions. We had also invested heavily in advertising the firecracker rules and sensitising resident welfare associations (RWAs) and market associations about police action that would follow if anyone violated the law,” Mittal said.
Mittal said the police had begun taking action several days before Diwali, leading to several arrests, seizures and cases in the days leading up to the festival. “Overall, this Diwali season, including the day of Diwali, we arrested 261 people for bursting or selling crackers and registered 433 cases,” Mittal said, adding that a total of 9,758kg of firecrackers have been seized during the festive season.
Those booked for using traditional firecrackers instead of the apex court-mandated green crackers, and indulging in fireworks outside the 8pm-10pm window on Diwali in violation of the SC guidelines have been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant). If convicted, they could be jailed for up to a month, be fined ₹200 or both.
Many booked under this section last year continue to make rounds of the courts. A lot of them had vowed not to indulge in fireworks this Diwali.
The police reserved the harsher law for those selling firecrackers. Deepak Purohit, DCP (west), said they were booked under Section 9B of the Indian Explosives Act. “If convicted, they could be jailed for up to two years, be fined ₹2,000 or be awarded both punishments,” Purohit said.
The most number of arrests (52) for bursting or selling firecrackers on Diwali night were made in north-east district. Dwarka district topped the list of people booked, with 75 such cases.