Firecracker Ban Extends Beyond Delhi's Borders: Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Restrictions

In a significant move to curb pollution, the Supreme Court has extended its 2021 order permitting only the use of eco-friendly firecrackers to the entire nation, not just the Delhi-NCR region. The bench remarked that children's involvement in fireworks use has declined, and it's primarily adults who engage in this practice. They further emphasized that environmental protection is a collective responsibility.

During a hearing regarding a petition urging the Rajasthan government to comply with court orders prohibiting the use of firecrackers containing barium salts and other harmful chemicals - and also to address air and noise pollution during festive seasons - a bench comprising Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh declared that no additional directives were required. They reiterated the nationwide binding nature of Supreme Court orders and instructed Rajasthan to adhere to its previous rulings on the matter.

In 2021, the Supreme Court clarified that while the use of firecrackers is not entirely banned, those containing barium salts are strictly prohibited. They recognized the blatant disregard for this directive and issued a stern warning: any lapses in enforcement would result in "personal liability" for high-ranking officials at various levels.

Accordingly, Rajasthan must fully comply with these directives and implement comprehensive measures to curb air and noise pollution, not just during festive seasons but throughout the year," the bench stressed. Additionally, they sought specific directives from the Udaipur administration to address the issue of pollution stemming from weddings held in the city.

"Rajasthan's counsel emphasized that every citizen must take personal responsibility to reduce firecracker usage during Diwali," he stated. The court also addressed the misconception that pollution control and environmental protection are solely the court's responsibilities.

Addressing the ongoing pollution crisis in Delhi, where the Air Quality Index exceeded 400, the Supreme Court decried the politicization of the issue and emphasized that the deteriorating air quality is akin to a “murder of people's health.