Noting that the issue concerning firecrackers and their impact on the environment was pending before the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court Wednesday asked green cracker merchants if it was not appropriate for them to move the top court against the ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the city during the upcoming months.
The high court, which was hearing the petition by sellers who seek to purchase, sell and store only green cracker, posted the matter for hearing on October 7 to obtain further clarity on the scope of the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
Justice Yashwant Varma said, Is it not appropriate for the association (of sellers) to move an application there (apex court) when the matter is still pending there. From the material placed on record, the issue of sale of firecrackers and its impact on the environment appears to be under consideration of the Supreme Court. The issue (therefore) is whether the present writ petition should be entertained independently, the high court observed. Green cracker merchants approached the High Court assailing the ban imposed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the city during the upcoming months.
The petitioners contended that the absolute ban by the DPCC is in contravention of the orders of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, which never provided for such a blanket prohibition. Delhi government counsel said that the ban order was issued in light of the city's air quality which was getting worse.
Petitioners, Shiva Fireworks, and Jai Mata Stores, in their plea, said that the air quality in Delhi has been moderate since August 15 and there was no occasion to impose a ban even on the use of green crackers. The petitioners emphasised that the last-minute ban imposed by DPCC on September 14 is arbitrary and illegal and adversely affects their livelihood.
It is clear from the order of the learned NGT dated December 1, 2020, and that of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated July 23, 2021, that a complete ban on the use of crackers is impermissible. Restrictions can be made only in cases where the air quality is poor.The same is not the case in Delhi, the plea said. Relying on the above, and on the judicial orders that have been passed from time to time, the petitioners and similarly placed sellers had stocked up on green crackers, which complied with the mandate set by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. However, the impugned direction has imposed a blanket ban on the sale of all fire-crackers, it claimed.