The Supreme Court on 28 October 2015 refused to expand the eight-hour night-time ban period on bursting of crackers and voiced unhappiness over government’s failure to run a campaign to create public awareness during Diwali time on the ill-effects of fireworks.
The bench said, “If anyone wants to burst crackers outside his house, then we cannot say no. It will be dangerous to do so and people will say it is their right,”
The court was hearing a petition filed by the fathers on behalf of three infants aged between six and 14 months, who had stressed on their right to be brought up in a pollution- free environment and pleaded that government agencies be restrained from issuing a licence for the sale of crackers in the national capital.
During the hearing, the bench expressed unhappiness over non-publication of government advertisements on creating anti-cracker awareness among the people. Earlier, the court had directed the Centre and state governments to educate people about the ill-effects of crackers and advise them not to use fireworks.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar assured the court that advertisements will be given in print and electronic media from 31 October to 12 November in pursuance of the direction.
The plea has cited a study in Bangalore that showed how a widespread awareness campaign and enforcement mechanisms led to a sharp 32% decrease in pollution levels there during Diwali time in 2013 compared to a year ago.
Earlier in its petition, a group from Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi said fireworks are a means of celebrations across the world argued that Crackers are burnt during Diwali, Independence Day, New Year, Christmas, victories in games and elections, marriages etc. and these celebrations cannot be thwarted by unfair restrictions.
Pointing to the Rs. 1,000 crore turnover of the industry, the Cracker Manufacturers’ Association said it provides direct employment to over 3 lakh people and indirect employment to 10 lakh.
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