People can burst low-emission firecrackers between 8 pm and 10 pm this Diwali, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, ruling against a blanket ban on fireworks. But the top court ordered that the firecrackers should not be too noisy or polluting.
It also stipulated a 35-minute window for new year celebrations setting a time between 11:55 pm to 12:30 am for bursting crackers. No fire crackers would be burst during the day, it said.
It ordered the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to give clearances to crackers only if they meet noise and emission standards. The court order made it clear that the existing stock of crackers would become redundant .
The court also banned online sale of firecrackers and said it would be the responsibility of e-commerce companies to ensure there is no violation of the order.
Local police officers shall be personally liable if there is a violation of the court orders and will be hauled up for contempt.
In the national capital, the Supreme Court said the Aam Aadmi Party government should look into the possibility of community fireworks to reduce the pollution load. If the government goes for this, the judges said this should be done within the next week so that people do not end up buying firecrackers.
After the top court imposed a complete ban on sale of firecrackers in the national capital region last year, Tuesday’s decision comes as a relief for many Delhites who want a bang for their bucks on Diwali. For the rest of the country, it will be the first time that the festival of lights would be celebrated under strict restrictions.