Apex Court (Supreme Court) refused a complete ban on firecrackers, but only those can be sold which are less polluting green crackers, that too only through licensed traders. Supreme Court also banned online sale of firecrackers by a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
A writ petition has been filed on 24th September, 2015 on behalf of three infants by Petitioner Arjun Gopal & others against the Respondents Union of India & others. This petition has been filed as the Petitioners are concerned about the health of the children due to the degradation of air quality, which leads to severe pollution in Delhi. As the pollution may effect like asthma, coughing, bronchitis, retarded nervous system breakdown and cognitive impairment. During the Diwali the air pollution reaches high because of firecrackers.
At first the petitioner prayed for direction to the official respondents to take possible measures for checking the pollution by striking at the causes of pollution, which includes seasonal crop burning, indiscriminate dumping of dust and other pollutants, etc. The second is banning the use, in any form, of firecrackers, sparkles and minor explosive, in any form, during festivals or otherwise.
Article :- 21 Protection of life and personal liberty : No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
Article :- 25 Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
Between these two Articles the bench examined the case.
The Apex Court firstly examined in the present form whether bursting of crackers should be continued without any regulatory measures, as a religious practice or not, since it is proving to be a severe health hazard.
The Court came into conclusion that Article :- 25 should give a way to Article :- 21. Hence they said “if a particular religious practice is threatening the health and lives of people, such practice is not entitled to protection under Article :- 25.” However the practice can be allowed by using such firecrackers which give nil or negligible effect on health.
It also examined the argument that banning the sale of firecrackers may lead to extreme economic hardship (includes revenue loss sustainability and unemployment). But the bench said when it is compared to the cost of treatment for curing as people suffer on result of burning these firecrackers.