New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea challenging the order for a complete ban on firecrackers in the NCT of Delhi till January 1, 2023, noting that similar petitions are pending before the Supreme Court.
Justice Yashwant Varma said that as a similar matter is pending before the Supreme Court, it would not be appropriate for the bench to hear the petition now. The petitioner Shiva Fireworks and others had moved a petition through advocates Pranjal Kishore and Aman Bansal. The petitioners are engaged in the sale, purchase and storage of green crackers.
They had challenged the order of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) issued on September 14, 2022 directing for a complete ban on the manufacturing, storage, sale and bursting of firecracker in NCT of Delhi till January 1, 2023.
The DPCC order stated that “There will be a “Complete Ban” on all kinds of firecrackers onmanufacturing, storage, selling (including delivery through online marketing platforms) and bursting upto January 1, 2023 in the territory of NCT of Delhi.”
The petitioners contended that the directions are contrary to the judicial orders they rely on.
The directions seek to rely on the order dated December 1, 2020, issued
by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the order issued by the Supreme Court in a Civil Appeal dated of July 23, 2021.
However, the present directions are contrary to both of these orders.
The petitioner stated that NGT’s said order expressly allowed the sale and use of
green firecrackers in areas where air quality is “moderate”.
The petition referred to the apex Court order that, “In our opinion, the order impugned in these appeals is self-eloquent. It has provided for a graded approach to be adopted by all concerned, keeping in mind the prevailing Covid-19 situation.”
It was also stated that the Court further held, “The purport of Clause (i), in our opinion, is that there will be a total ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers during the Covid-19 pandemic only where the air quality becomes ‘poor’ or more than poor category.
That is a just direction. In other words, if the air quality of the concerned area is moderate or better, the authorities may permit the sale and use of green fire crackers, as specified in the order itself…”
It was submitted that the air quality in New Delhi has been moderate or better at least since August 15, 2022. In this view, there is no occasion to impose a ban on the use of even green crackers.
It was also submitted that the Respondents have acted in a hasty and arbitrary manner. DPCC has issued the said direction without applying its mind to the orders of the NGT and the Supreme Court.
The petitioner also said that the Directions were contrary to orders of the Supreme Court which allow the use of green crackers. The Supreme Court has allowed the use of green crackers in multiple orders.
The Supreme Court has also set aside orders of the Telangana High Court and Calcutta High Court, which imposed blanket bans on the sale of all fire-crackers, the petitioners contended.
It is pertinent to note that Delhi Police had issued an advertisement regarding the grant of temporary fireworks licenses on September 1, 2022. Detailed guidelines were also issued in this regard. The guidelines specified that only crackers as allowed by the Supreme Court and the NGT would be allowed, the petition said.
However, the present direction has imposed a blanket ban on the sale of all firecrackers.
It was submitted that the arbitrary, and last-minute ban imposed on the sale and use of green crackers affects the livelihood of the Petitioners and other similarly placed sellers.
The same is thus contrary to Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution, the petition said while seeking quashing of the direction of DPCC.