On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made it clear that all states were covered by its orders prohibiting the lighting of firecrackers. The state governments were further ordered by the court to take the necessary action to reduce noise and air pollution.
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A number of petitions asking for an outright ban on the sale, purchase, and use of firecrackers in India were being heard by the bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh.
SC clarifies the order
This petitioner had filed a plea on behalf of the state of Rajasthan, asking the highest court to issue directives directing the execution of earlier rulings. The petitioner informed the court that the order is although applicable for the whole country but it seems as it it is for only Delhi-NCR.
Justice Sundresh noted during the case hearing that there was a misconception that the court alone had jurisdiction over environmental issues. The court ruled that the state of Rajasthan needed to heed its previous order. Additionally, the states need to act to reduce air pollution, particularly in the summer when festivals are held. Sensitization of the public is crucial, the court stated.
Orders for Mumbai
The Bombay High Court issued some important directives on Monday, stating that firecrackers may only be set off during the Diwali festival between 7 and 10 pm due to the city’s high levels of air pollution and low AQI. Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Girish Kulkarni, sitting as a division bench, have ordered all municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region to follow the instructions in order to address the AQI issue as soon as possible.
The bench was considering a suo motu PIL that sought corrective action in relation to Mumbai’s declining air quality, which has drawn a lot of attention in recent weeks. The judges noted that a decision must be made immediately to either burn firecrackers to create an environment free from disease or to celebrate Diwali.
The judges also mandated the execution of the latest steps taken by the Brihan-Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in accordance with the Mumbai Air Pollution Mitigation Plan. These measures include the installation of metal sheets around building sites, dust-suppression sprinklers, traffic laws and other air pollution control measures.
According to the court, any failure on the part of the BMC Ward Officer in question will result in personal accountability, and all Municipal Commissioners of the MMR are expected to oversee the actions being taken as well as point out any officers who have gone astray.
More about the issue
The sale and use of firecrackers were outlawed by the supreme court in 2018, and it was subsequently declared that the ban would stand and be properly implemented.
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The state government was urged to act because “we cannot depend only on nature” and it has become difficult to walk on the pavements in the entire city due to air pollution.
“We being the inhabitants are putting ourselves in this predicament. Our lives have not been instinctively lived on this Earth”. Chief Justice Upadhyaya remarked, “We are not dependent on nature, but we are also dependent on it.”In addition to the firecracker ban, the high court has mandated that construction debris cannot be moved into or out of the city until Diwali. It also stated that the court would think about preventing construction materials from entering or leaving job sites if the AQI did not improve by Friday.