New Delhi: In a stern action to curb air pollution during the ongoing wedding season, the Supreme Court on Friday suspended the licences of all firecracker sellers in Delhi and National Capital Region with immediate effect till further orders, virtually banning their sale and purchase. "We in public interest direct the suspension of existing licences for possessing, stocking and selling of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR region till further orders," a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and S A Bobde said.
The apex court also directed the Centre not to renew any such licences till further orders. It directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to examine and submit its report in six months on the harmful effects caused by the materials used in the firecrackers. The suspension of licences with immediate effects means that sale, purchase and stocking of firecrackers are completely banned in Delhi and NCR region. The apex court had on November 11 reserved its verdict on the issue and said it would go step-by-step as fireworks have become a part of life and a reasonable order needed to be passed which could be enforced. It had said it was considering passing an order that no new licence will be granted and the existing ones not renewed or could even direct the Centre to pass an order suspending the existing licences in Delhi-NCR.
The court had said it will not pass any final order without going into research and reports on its impact on air quality, health and life-style. Equating fire crackers with "burning of money", the apex court had said one should think that when humans are affected so much with these fire crackers, what effect would it have it on animals like dogs which have more sensitive ears than humans. It had also observed that as per reports, 30 percent children in Delhi were asthmatic and steps needed to be taken all fronts. The petitioners had requested the bench to give a time limit to the government to suspend and not renew licences for possessing, stocking and selling fire crackers. They had moved the Supreme Court seeking ban on use of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR on the ground that it has contributed immensely to the worsening air pollution.