•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Firecrackers (almost) banned by SC, after pollution control writ in 3-babies petition, joined by yet another anti-pollution petition

The CJI decides to tackle the problem at source, cracks down on licencing, also gives government 10 days to come up with a pollution tackling plan

SC cracks down on firecrackers, for cleaner Delhi air, with Suri & Suri Law Offices
SC cracks down on firecrackers, for cleaner Delhi air, with Suri & Suri Law Offices

The Supreme Court is close to banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi, as it today said it will soon pass an order prohibiting the licensing authority for the sale of firecrackers from issuing new licenses. It will also ask the authority to suspend existing licenses and to recall the existing stock of firecrackers with sellers.

Today's hearing was the latest in last year's writ petition of three toddlers represented by their lawyer fathers - Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Amit Bhandari, and Saurabh Bhasin and three senior advocates - Kapil Sibal, KK Venugopal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The court had then asked to spread awareness of crackers’ ill effects, but refused to order a blanket ban on the sale and use of firecrackers.

Venugopal argued for the first petitioners today, with another petitioner represented by Vibha Makhija.

The SC will now likely pass a formal order with these directions by Tuesday, said India Internet Fund managing director Anirudh Suri, who was present in court today. Suri, with brother and Suri & Suri Law Offices advocate Shikhil Suri, had filed a writ on the same and others grounds in the SC this week praying for a complete ban on firecrackers, and were therefore present in court today and yesterday. Anirudh Suri said that both "made several submissions today and yesterday in the court, specifically around how to manage the existing stock (invoking article 119 of the explosives act) and also how firecrackers had no positive contribution to our economy or society and hence did not need to be deliberated at length as there was no development-pollution trade-off at play in this context".

Commenting on the hearing in the case by Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, and justices SA Bobde and AK Sikri, Suri said: “Today the court basically said that we want to tackle the firecracker problem at source.

"Preventing their use will not be enough. We want to delve into how they are sold.

"The discussion today was that the central government is going to ask the licencing authority for the sale of firecrackers to stop issuing licences, suspend the existing licenses and the licencing authority will also give [the sellers] directions for the existing stock.”

“They were clear today that the use of firecrackers in Delhi NCR [is the main reason for rising pollution levels]”, he said.

During yesterday’s hearing in the case the SC ordered the central government to come up with a detailed plan of action within 10 days, to counter Delhi’s unprecedented and lethal post-Diwali rise in the levels of air pollution this year.

Suri confirmed that yesterday the SC ordered:

Central Pollution Control Board should make a plan that would distinguish between different kinds of pollution and should be able to grade them. It should set up a monitoring system that would be able to grade he different kinds of pollution.

In 10 days time Central Pollution Control Board would finalize the Plan of Action including the opinions of all the stakeholders, scientists, technicians and experts and suggestions by Writ Petitioners.

Central Pollution Control Board needs to evolve a definite Plan of action that would make response / Design to different levels of pollution/moderate/ severe, it would be appropriate to make a suitable plan for grading of monitoring units pollution levels. Includes petitioners who shall be free to make there suggestions, they can send their suggestion, fix the meeting on 19 -11-2016 at 11 am at the office of the chairperson CBCP.

Other than the CPCB, respondents in the writ are the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu is the place where the main production of firecrackers sold in India takes place. Today the Supreme Court added another respondent to the writ – a manufacturer of firecrackers who was present in court.

On Suris’ prayers that were wider than the firecracker ban issue, the court has clubbed the writ with those of three other petitioners who have challenged the government’s inaction in control rising pollution levels in Delhi. The four writs will be next heard on this issue on 25 November.

Suri explained their petition as: "1) ban firecrackers completely in Delhi ncr, 2) direct the government to come up with a metrics driven and outcomes driven plan to reduce pollution down to average annual levels of 35 pm2. 5 (as opposed to just generic initiatives taken up on an ad hoc basis), 3) setting up of a dedicated committee led by a former SC judge or pollution expert to put together detailed recommendations for a draft pollution policy framework."

Correction: The earlier published version of this story did not make it clear that today's hearing and order regarding firecrackers was the same as the three-toddlers case from last year. We have now clarified this and regret the error.


Click to show 3 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.