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SC bans Delhi firecracker sales • At least 3 babies take deep breath, one year after lawyer-dads filed PIL

Sure, it’s not going to fix air pollution by itself, but it’s certainly a great start!

Babies (and parents) may breathe a little easier now around festivals like Diwali in Delhi
Babies (and parents) may breathe a little easier now around festivals like Diwali in Delhi

A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur and justices AK Sikri and SA Bobde today ordered a ban on all sales of firecrackers and the issuing of new licences in Delhi.

The copy of the full order is awaited.

The order was passed in the writ petition of Arjun Gopal vs UOI that was filed in September 2015 before Diwali by three lawyers - Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, advocate Amit Bhandari, who works with senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and Trilegal partner Saurabh Bhasin - on behalf and as so-called ‘next friends’ of their infant children.

That petition had been joined earlier this month by a wider anti-pollution petition by India Internet Fund managing director Anirudh Suri and his brother, Suri & Suri Law Offices advocate Shikhil Suri.

Anirudh Suri commented: "The SC has given the official order suspending all existing licenses for sale of firecrackers in NCR and ordered that no more licenses be issued either."

"Initially the order was given on the firecrackers issue specifically," he explained. "Post that there was discussion on the CPCB report that was submitted and then a date has been set for December 2nd to evaluate how the detailed recommendations will be executed. 

"The court also discussed what steps could be taken to control vehicular pollution immediately, among other things."

On 11 November the Supreme Court had already indicated, as we reported at the time, that it would soon pass an order restricting firework sales.

While only a fraction of the endemic year-round air pollution in Delhi is caused by firecrackers, the aftermath of this year’s Diwali festival saw record pollution levels in Delhi.

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