New Delhi: In a relief for the Telangana Fireworks Dealers Association, the Supreme Court on Friday permitted the sale and bursting of firecrackers for two hours in Telangana. The top court said the directions of the National Green Tribunal should be complied to in letter and spirit.
The NGT, in its order on November 9, said: “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 concerned State.”
A special vacation bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna modified the November 12, Telangana High Court order, which directed total ban on sale and bursting of firecrackers in the state. The top court order came on an appeal filed by the Telangana Fireworks Dealers Association. “We are conscious of the fact that the respondent(s) are not represented today nor they have been served but in the peculiar situation and urgency involved, as aforesaid, the impugned order stands modified to bring in line with the stated directions issued by the National Green Tribunal,” said the bench.
The bench also issued notice to advocate P. Indra Prakash and others on whose plea the High Court passed the order. The bench will conduct further hearing on the matter on November 16.
The fireworks association was represented by senior advocate Salman Khurshid. After a hearing in the matter, the top court observed, “the order of the High Court stands modified and is brought in line with the directions issued by the National Green Tribunal by a comprehensive order of November 9, 2020.”
The NGT in its order had imposed a total ban against sale or use of all kinds of fire crackers in the NCR from midnight of November, 09-10, to the midnight of November 30 – December 1, to be reviewed thereafter. “Direction will also apply to all cities/towns in the country where the average of ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) fall under ‘poor’ and above category”, added the tribunal.
The top court prima facie agreed with fireworks association which challenged the validity of the High Court order, which was passed without hearing them. They contended that this order seriously affected their livelihood.
“For, no reason much less special reason is noted in the impugned order for departing therefrom. All concerned in the State of Telangana must comply with the stated directions of the NGT in its letter and spirit,” said the top court.