Supreme Court reserves order on plea to ban manufacture, sale of firecrackers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea that sought a countrywide ban on manufacture, sale and possession of firecrackers to curb air pollution.

A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the order after hearing arguments from all the concerned parties including petitioner, firecrackers manufacturers and the central government.

The bench had earlier said that there was a need to strike a balance between the right to health and the right to carry on a trade or profession.

The bench had said that there was a fundamental right to livelihood of firecrackers manufacturers involved as well as the fundamental right to health for 130 crore citizens of the country.

The firecracker manufacturers told the apex court that crackers alone were not the sole cause of rising pollution during Diwali though it was one of the contributing factors and that an entire industry can’t be shut down on this count.

The manufacturers contended that pollution had reached very high levels not only due to firecrackers but also vehicular pollution, construction dust and stubble-burning.

“The question is whether an entire industry can be shut down citing air pollution while other industries are allowed to continue,” contended the counsel for the manufacturers.

Earlier, the bench had expressed concern over growing respiratory problems among children due to air pollution and said it would decide whether there has to be a complete or reasonable curbs on bursting of firecrackers.

The bench had cited a report that said 20-25 per cent children suffer from respiratory diseases.

One of the pleas filed by a child, Arjun Gopal, represented by lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan, sought a ban on possession of firecrackers in the National Capital Region as it was contributing to an already alarming air pollution.

Last year, the apex court prohibited the sale of firecrackers in NCR-Delhi during Diwali.