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Supreme Court Slashes Firecrackers Sale In Delhi-NCR By 50 Percent

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| September 12 , 2017 , 14:17 IST

Every year campaigns are run to encourage reducing, or rather eliminating, the use of fireworks around the festival season of Dussehra and Diwali with a view to reduce the amount of air pollution.

In view of the upcoming festival season, the Supreme Court has issued a directive that firecracker sellers in and around Delhi that they are permitted to only possess and sell 50 percent of the quantity permitted last year.

"While lifting the suspension on the permanent licences granted, we put these licensees on notice for Dussehra and Diwali in 2018 that they will be permitted to possess and sell only 50% of the quantity permitted in 2017 and this will substantially reduce over the next couple of years," said the apex court.

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"Similarly, the states in the NCR are restrained from granting more than 50% of the number of temporary licences granted in 2016," ordered the bench.

The number of temporary licenses to be issued for selling fireworks is to be capped at 500 the bench stated, directing the Delhi Police to make sure that the number of temporary licences issued is not more than 50 percent of those issued in 2016.

"There can be no doubt that the residents of the NCT of Delhi and indeed the entire NCR are entitled to breathe unpolluted air. They are entitled to the protection of their health from the adverse consequences of breathing in air polluted by the bursting of fireworks," underlined the Supreme Court, referring to a PIL filed by advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan.

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"The Department of Education of the Government of NCT of Delhi and the corresponding Department in other States in the NCR shall immediately formulate a plan of action, in not more than 15 days, to reach out to children in all the schools through the school staff, volunteers and NGOs to sensitize and educate school children on the health hazards and ill-effects of breathing polluted air, including air that is polluted due to fireworks," the bench ordered.

Police authorities and District Magistrates have been directed to ensure that firecrackers are not burst in silence zones, such as 100 meters away from hospitals, educational institutions, and courts.

The court added that the question of revival of licenses would be reviewed after Diwali, based on the air-quality at the time. A committee has also been set up by the apex court to study the impact of firecrackers burst during Dussehra and Diwali which will submit its report by December 31.