SC reserves verdict on plea to restore ban on firecracker sale in Delhi-NCR

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea seeking restoration of its last year's order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-National Capital Region.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) supported the plea before a Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri and said November 11, 2016, order should be restored and the use of firecrackers banned in Delhi-NCR.

The apex court had through this order suspended all licences which permitted the wholesale and retail sale of firecrackers within the territory of NCR.

On September 12 this year, the top court had temporarily lifted the earlier order.

During the hearing, advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for petitioner Arjun Gopal, told the bench that the ban on the use of firecrackers should be restored as the NCR had witnessed a huge rise in air pollution during and after Diwali last year.

He said the rise in air pollution during last Diwali was because of several reasons including the extensive use of firecrackers.

Advocate Vijay Panjwani, appearing for the CPCB, said they supported the petitioner's plea. "I am not opposing the petitioner," he said, adding "November 11, 2016, order must be restored".

The council, appearing for the permanent license selling crackers, opposed the plea and said the September 12 order temporarily lifting the ban, was "well-reasoned" and passed after hearing all the parties, including the CPCB.

The bench, while reserving the order, said it would try to deliver the verdict on Monday.

It had yesterday observed that the matter had "progressed from time to time" after the order was passed in November last year.

The apex court had last month temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of firecrackers, saying a complete ban would be an "extreme step" and a graded approach was needed to curb pollution caused by them.

The court, however, had said its order lifting the ban on the sale of firecrackers might require a "review" after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality after the festival.

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