Supreme Court Rules Against Blanket Ban on Firecrackers, Sets 8-10pm Time Limit for Diwali

The Supreme Court made it clear that on Diwali, firecrackers can be burst only between 8pm and 10pm. On Christmas and New Year, crackers would be allowed between 11:45pm and 12:45am.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to order a country-wide ban on firecrackers, holding that compliance with certain safeguards will rather help strike a balance.

A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said "improved and green" crackers can be manufactured and sold only by the licensed holders. The court imposed a complete ban on sale of fire crackers by e-commerce firms, including Amazon and Flipkart.

It added that firecrackers will also have to comply with the prescribed noise levels and also barred use of some chemicals, including barium salt, in the manufacturing.

The court clarified that on festivals, including Diwali, bursting of firecrackers will be allowed only between 8 pm and 10 pm. On Christmas and New Year's Eve, the bench said, crackers can be burst between 11:45 pm and 12:45 am.

"We make it clear that we are concerned not only with Diwali… be it Gurpurab or Christmas, our directions will work across the board," said Justice Sikri.

The judge said that this judgment has tried to strike a balance and has relied majorly on the suggestions and guidelines proposed by the central government.

The court added that the Centre and state governments should promote community bursting of firecrackers by designating such spots.

It made station house officers of concerned police stations to ensure strict compliance with its orders and said those breaching its directives shall be liable for contempt of court.

The bench further directed the Central Pollution Control Board to go with its studies on impact of firecrackers and submit the reports periodically.