'Do you need IIT to understand?': SC junks plea against ban on firecrackers in Delhi-NCR

The court also emphasised that the residents of Delhi are aware of the effects of the use of firecrackers

People visit a firecrackers' shop, ahead of the Diwali festival, near Jama Masjid in old Delhi. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea challenging the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which imposed a complete ban on the sale and use of firecrackers amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Delhi-NCR and other cities, having poor air quality index (AQI).

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna noted that authorities are permitted to allow the sale and use of firecrackers depending on the AQI in the city. 

The NGT order was clear and there was no need for further deliberation on the matter, the bench added. 

The court also emphasised that the residents of Delhi are aware of the effects of the use of firecrackers, especially during Diwali when pollution levels spike. 

Advocate Sai Deepak J, representing a seller of firecrackers, submitted that according to an IIT Kanpur report, a firecracker is not even on the list of top 15 factors, which contributed towards air pollution. 

"Do you need IIT to understand that firecrackers impact your health? Ask someone staying in Delhi what happens during Diwali," the bench told him.

Senior Advocate P S Narasimha, appearing for firecracker sellers/dealers, submitted that a total ban has been imposed on firecrackers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"Ban is only dependant on air quality. If it is severe, it will not be allowed. Ban is only where quality is poor. When the air quality is moderate green crackers are allowed," the bench pointed out.

Narasimha said there is a ban on sales too. The bench responded there has to be a ban on sales too in areas where AQI is poor.

The court dismissed the appeals filed against the NGT's order passed in December, last year.

If air quality improved, the authorities might permit the sale and use of firecrackers, the bench said, referring to the graded approach of the tribunal.