The centre had opposed a complete ban on sale of firecrackers during Diwali across the country.
Amid huge concerns over pollution, firecrackers have been allowed by the Supreme Court, but with conditions. Only less polluting crackers will be allowed, for a limited time and in designated areas, the court said, rejecting an outright ban.
On Diwali, crackers will be allowed for two hours, from 8 pm to 10 pm, and on Christmas and New Year, people can burst firecrackers between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am.
“Only crackers with reduced emission will be allowed and they can be sold through licenced holders,” the judges said, rejecting an outright ban.
“We tried to strike a balance,” the court commented, taking note of the popularity of crackers during festivals and weddings.
Crackers cannot be sold online and if they are, the sites will be hauled up for contempt.
A petition had sought a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved its verdict on August 28.
The top court had said that the Article 21 of the constitution on the Right to Life applied to people as well as firecracker manufacturers and a balance was needed while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers.
On October 9 last year, the court had temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali.
Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali. The top court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels in the region.
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