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‘Let people breathe clean air,’ SC refuses to urgently hear plea on Delhi’s firecracker ban

BJP MP Tiwari approached the top court in October, stating: ‘In the name of right to life, freedom of religion cannot be taken away.’

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to urgently hear a plea challenging the Delhi government’s ban on firecrackers during the festive season, particularly Diwali.

“Let people breathe clean air,” the apex court said, turning down a quick hearing of the appeal filed by BJP MP Manoj Tiwari.

Tiwari had approached the court on 10 October against the Aam Aadmi Party government’s ban on the sale, purchase and use of firecrackers.

On that day too, the top court had refused to stay the Delhi government’s ban on firecrackers till 1 January, 2023, imposed to check pollution levels in the national capital.

“You’re a permanent resident of NCR, right? Have you seen the pollution? We do not want to add to the pollution. We are not dismissing your plea, we will consider it,” the SC bench told advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, who had appeared for BJP MP Manoj Tiwari.

The top court then tagged the petition along with a similar matter and said it would come up for hearing before Diwali on 24 October.

“In the name of right to life, freedom of religion cannot be taken away…,” Tiwari’s plea had said.

Tiwari had also sought directions to all states not to take any coercive action like lodging FIRs against people found selling or using permissible firecrackers during the festival season including Diwali.

On Thursday, however, the top court advised Jha that the money for firecrackers be spent on sweets instead.

The Delhi High Court too dismissed a petition Thursday challenging the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) order banning manufacture, sale, storage and bursting of firecrackers in the national capital.

Single-judge Justice Yashwant Varma said the issue was already being heard by the Supreme Court and hence, it would not be appropriate for the High Court to entertain the same.

Last year, the Delhi government announced a complete ban on firecrackers till January 1, 2022. It also ran an aggressive campaign, with 15 special teams at the district level, against the sale and use of firecrackers

Despite the restrictions, people burst firecrackers till late at night in Delhi, Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram on Diwali, pushing up PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations.

Emissions from firecrackers and farm fires had pushed the capital’s 24-hour average air quality index for the day after Diwali to 462, the highest in five years.

The Delhi environment minister had then alleged that the BJP instigated people to flout the ban on firecrackers on Diwali by linking it to religion.

Also read: All the legal attempts made to combat Delhi’s air pollution in the last 2 decades


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