Cracker ban to stay, SC says ‘pained’ by re­li­gious tone

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

New Delhi: The ban on sale of fire­crack­ers in NCR will con­tinue till Oc­to­ber 31as the Supreme Court re­fused to mod­ify its or­der to al­low traders to sell them dur­ing Di­wali, on Fri­day.

The bench also ex­pressed an­guish over at­tempts by some peo­ple to give a com­mu­nal colour to its or­der and said, “We are pained to hear such state­ments.” The bench said peo­ple who had pur­chased fire­crack­ers be­fore the ban or­der was passed could use them on Di­wali. The court asked all the par­ties not to politi­cise the is­sue. Mak­ing a last ditch ef­fort to im­press upon the apex court the need to lift the ban, the sell­ers had urged a bench of Jus­tices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that they should at least be al­lowed to sell fire­crack­ers dur­ing Di­wali, say­ing it is in­te­gral to the fes­ti­val.

“Di­wali is be­ing cel­e­brated for years and Delhi is not the only place where it is cel­e­brated ... res­i­dents of NCR should not be de­prived ... The court should re­strict the time for sale and fix tim­ing for burst­ing fire­crack­ers,” se­nior ad­vo­cate Mukul Ro­hatgi con­tended.

The bench, how­ever, re­fused to re­lax its ban or­der say­ing it would be in force till Oc­to­ber end and the or­der was passed to get a fair idea on pol­lu­tion level in the city on Di­wali as com­pared to last year. The Pun­jab and Haryana highc ourt has said crack­ers can be burnt in Pun­jab, Haryana and Chandi­garh for three hours on Di­wali—from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

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