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SC reserves verdict on plea for restoring firecracker sales ban in Delhi/NCR

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order on a plea seeking the restoration of its November 2016 order banning the sale and stocking of fire crackers in the National Capital Region.

The petitioner, toddler Arjun Gopal sought the restoration of November 2016 order as he urged the court to modify its September 12 order by which the ban on the sale and stocking of firecrackers was lifted by the top court.

The bench of Justice A.K.Sikri, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the order as Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the bench that it supported the plea for the restoration of 2016 ban order.

The order on plea is likely to be pronounced on October 9.

The top court by its 2016 order while banning the sale and stocking of firecrackers had directed the cancellation of licences granted for the sale of fire crackers.

Appearing for Arjun Gopal, lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan told the court that ban was imposed soon after Diwali last year and lifted just before Diwali this year and described it as “farcical”.

He said that an exercise that begin 20 years ago to curb the bursting of fire crackers in a graded manner was never taken forward and that is the reason that “we have reached a point where we are today” as the most polluted city in the world.

However, senior counsel C.A. Sundaram appearing for the permanent licence holders defended the lifting of ban saying that bursting of fire crackers during festive season of Diwali contributed in a small measure to the air pollution in Delhi and the NCR.

Sundaram cited an expert report which said that the most of the air pollution in the national capital was because of the external factors traceable to the adjoining states.

Both the petitioner and permanent licence holders have sought the modification of September 12 direction by the top court. While petitioner has sought restoration of ban, the licence holders are seeking the lifting of curbs on bringing more fire crackers in Delhi and NCR to meet the demands of nearly five crore people residing there.

Supporting the petitioner’s plea for the restoiration of ban, senior counsel Vijay Panjwani, appearing for the CPCB, told the bench that the entire city was looking towards the top court for relief.