SC refuses to relax firecracker ban

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday refused to modify its October 9 order to ban sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR this Diwali and expressed anguish that the order was being given a communal twist.

“We are pained to hear that some people are giving the order a communal colour. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very spiritual person in such matters,” said Justice A.K. Sikri, who along with Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Ashok Bhushan had authored the October 9 ban order.

The court’s observation came as counsel Prashant Bhushan drew court attention to a statement by Bharatiya Janata Party Delhi unit spokesperson that they would procure firecrackers and distribute them free to children.

The bench told Bhushan: “No politics.”

Refusing to revisit the ban order, Justice Sikri and Justice Bhushan said: “We are not entering into any debate… the court has not stopped you from celebrating any festival. Nobody has any doubt that our order was not influenced by any such consideration.”

The court said this as one of the petitioners said that Diwali was not only celebrated by the Hindus but also by Jains and Sikhs.

Dismissing the applications for modification and recall of the October order, the court said it would be open to holders of temporary licences to seek their renewal and the request could be considered by police authorities.

The court said this as temporary licence holders told the bench that they had obtained such licences after the September 12 order that lifted the ban and that their licences were valid only up to October 21.

On Monday, the Supreme Court, in an effort to check pollution, slapped a temporary ban on the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-National Capital Region till October 31.

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