New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and actor Manoj Tiwari’s plea against ban on fire cracker before Diwali festival. The plea had challenged the Delhi government’s decision to prohibit the production, storage, sale, and use of all types of firecrackers to curb the rising pollution levels in the national capital.
A single judge bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit said, “It will be heard on October 10” after advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha mentioned Tiwari’s plea for urgent hearing.
“List on October 10, it’s before Diwali,” said CJI Lalit. Tiwari sought directions from 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.
In 2021, the Supreme Court clarified that there is no blanket ban on the use of firecrackers and only those fireworks that contain barium salts are prohibited.
In the plea filed through advocates Ashwani Kumar Dubey and Shashank Shekhar Jha, it was stated that “in the name of the right to life, freedom of religion cannot be taken away and that a balance has to be struck like that has been done through the decision of this Court dated October 29, 2021.”
The BJP MP also sought directions to all states not to take any coercive action like lodging FIR against ordinary people found selling or using permissible firecrackers.
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 did not take the necessary steps to ensure proper arrangements for the celebration of Deepawali and instead registered FIRs and imposed curfew, the petition added.
The Delhi government registered 210 FIRs against common citizens and the police arrested 143 people for bursting crackers, whereas it lodged 125 FIRs and arrested 138 people for selling them (crackers) between September 28, 2021 and November 4, 2021, the petition stated.
The AAP government in Delhi on September 7 put a blanket ban on firecrackers with immediate effect in the capital till January 1, 2023.