A Supreme Court directive issued last year effectively halts all sales of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) till 31 October, rendering Diwali a damp affair.
The Supreme Court on Monday reimposed the ban on sale of firecrackers in the NCR ahead of Diwali, which is set to be celebrated on 19 October, citing pollution caused by smoke and chemicals released into the air.
The order, however, does not prohibit bursting of crackers - which means that people with last year's stock can use firecrackers. It can also be brought from outside, but cannot be sold in the NCR.
The apex court, in its last year's direction, had suspended all licences which permits sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR till further orders.
Firecrackers would not be sold in Delhi-NCR during Diwali this year as the court, in its last year's direction, had suspended all licences which permits sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR till further orders. The apex court in 2005 had also directed that there should be a complete ban on bursting sound-emitting firecrackers between 10 PM and 6 AM.
The apex court referred to the air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR during and immediately after Diwali last year, the apex court today observed that due to the adverse effects of burning of fire crackers, ''the air quality deteriorates abysmally and alarmingly and the city chokes thereby''.
While the order, suspending all licences which ''permit sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR'', remains intact, the court said its implementation remains to be seen.
''This order prevailed during the year but the impact and effect of this order remains to be tested on Diwali days,'' the bench, also comprising Justices A M Sapre and Ashok Bhushan, said.
''Going by these considerations, we are of the opinion that the judgment dated September 12, 2017 passed by this court should be made effective only from November 1, 2017.
''To put it clearly, though we are not tweaking with the various directions contained in the order dated September 12, 2017, the effect of that order would not be given during this Diwali and, therefore, we are making it effective only from November 1, 2017,'' the court said.
''We are conscious of the fact that after the said (September 12) order was passed, the police may have issued temporary licences. Accordingly, those are suspended forthwith so that there is no further sale of the crackers in Delhi and NCR,'' it said.
The bench said that further orders on this issue can be passed after assessing the situation that would emerge after this Diwali season.