SC modifies Telangana HC order on firecrackers ban

Vacation Bench says HC judgment is brought in line with directions issued by National Green Tribunal

A Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday did not agree with the Telangana High Court’s view to completely ban the use, manufacture and sale of firecrackers in Telangana for Deepavali and other festivals.

Instead, a Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjeev Khanna modified the High Court order in line with the more “comprehensive” directions issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), on November 9, about the use and sale of firecrackers across the country, especially the Delhi-NCR region.

In its order passed only a few days before the Telangana High Court order of November 12, the Tribunal had given several alternatives on firecrackers, other than a blanket ban, based on the ground situation in individual cities and towns.

While the NGT ordered a categorical ban on firecrackers of any sort for the Delhi-NCR region, it had allowed green crackers in cities and towns where the average of ambient air quality was ‘moderate or above’.

“The cities/towns where air quality is ‘moderate’ or below, only green crackers be sold and the timings for use and bursting of crackers be restricted to two hours during festivals, like Diwali, Chatt, New Year/Christmas Eve, etc, as may be specified by the State concerned,” the NGT had ordered.

However, like Delhi-NCR, the Tribunal had ordered an imposition of the firecracker ban in cities where the air quality was ‘poor’ in November.

In other cities and towns, the NGT had left the decision to opt for a ban or restrictions to the authorities.

The apex court Bench observed that the NGT order applied to Telangana.

“The High Court judgment stands modified and is brought in line with the directions issued by the National Green Tribunal on November 9, which applies even to the State of Telangana … All concerned in the State of Telangana must comply with the stated directions of the Tribunal in its letter and spirit,” the Supreme Court directed.

On November 12, the Telangana High Court had ordered a complete ban on firecrackers to prevent pollution.

The Telangana Fire Works Dealers Association moved the apex court urgently on Friday to stay the High Court order. They argued that the unexpected ban by the High Court has caused a serious dent in their business. The High Court order is a cause of grave prejudice to them. The losses and damage would be irreparable if the court order is not stayed.

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