Firecrackers Available Online in Delhi-NCR Despite SC Ban

Air Pollution in Delhi

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday invited Delhiites to come down to the state to celebrate Diwali, a day after the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till 1 November. The ban comes nearly more than a week before Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated across the country, especially in the northern region.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Sapre and Ashok Bhushan reverted to its November 2016 decision to suspend sales of firecrackers "to test itself to find out whether there would be a positive effect of this suspension, particularly during Deepavali period".

A man rides a scooter on a road enveloped by smoke and smog, on the morning following Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. No firecrackers this Diwali.

Environmentalists, health experts have welcomed the ban while there are many who are calling it an unnecessary restraint on the festive spirit. While it is a potent argument that the verdict is an unwelcome and excessive intrusion of the court in matters of culture and observance of religious festivities, there are many who have enthusiastically welcomed the Apex court's decision.

"The pollution levels in north India are multiple times higher than the national standards throughout the winter months, hence we also need to look at a stricter, comprehensive and time-bound action plan to address all sources of air pollution across India", a Greenpeace India spokeswoman said.

The Supreme Court was sensitive to the plight of the people of NCR, and to the abysmal levels of air pollution that virtually choke the city. Noted writer Chetan Bhagat has tweeted against the ban. There is also no ban on buying crackers from outside Delhi and bringing them to the city for use.

Now, after petitioner Arjun Gopal petitioned to reinstate the ban, so as not to let a surge of air pollution levels like past year, the Supreme Court has given a green signal.

To buy firecrackers legally, one will have to travel for hours and cover almost 140 kms to 200 kms from the eastern and southern borders of Delhi.

Even as the Supreme Court ordered a complete ban on sale of fireworks this Diwali on the ground, it may have forgotten to net the virtual shopping world to this end.

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