SC moved for lifting of cracker ban citing cultural, religious rights; Gurgaon admin allows residents to burn crackers on Diwali

SC moved for lifting of cracker ban citing cultural, religious rights; Gurgaon admin allows residents to burn crackers on Diwali

Temporary licence holders too had moved the top court for the recall of the October 9 order banning the sale of firecrackers till October 31.

By: || Updated: 13 Oct 2017 08:27 AM

Image: PTI/Representational

New Delhi: A Chennai-based civil rights organisation on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking lifting of the ban on the sale of firecrackers in the national capital and NCR citing "cultural and religious rights of the Hindus and other communities" guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The lawyer for the petitioner -- Indic Collective Trust -- mentioned the matter for the lifting of the ban before the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

The matter will come up for hearing on Friday.

Temporary licence holders too had moved the top court for the recall of the October 9 order banning the sale of firecrackers till October 31.

Seeking restoration of the September 12 order lifting the ban on sale and stocking of firecrackers, the Trust said the Centre did not appear to have placed before the court the implication of the ban order on the fundamental rights of Hindus of Sanatan Dharma and Arya Samaj variant, Sikhs and Jains.

The petitioner organisation has contended that the festival is celebrated in the North and South of India based on different traditions, while retaining certain commonalities such as lighting of lamps, chanting of prayers, exchange of gifts and bursting of firecrackers.

"While in the North, the festival marks the celebration of the return of Lord Ram, in the South it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura," the application seeking the lifting of the ban read.

Stating that "regardless of whether these beliefs and traditions pass muster on the anvils of modern secular rationalism", the application by the Chennai-based organisation said: "These are nevertheless cherished beliefs and traditions which have been practised for centuries."

"Consequently", the Indic Collective Trust said that "they form part of the religious and cultural rights of Indic communities under Article 25".

The top court had by its November 11, 2016 order banned the sale and stocking of firecrackers. This ban was lifted by the top court on September 12 this year.

However, on a plea for the recall of the September 12 lifting order, the top court restored the ban till October 31, saying the September 12 order would come into operation from November 1.

The apex court had recently banned the sale of crackers in Delhi-NCR till November 1, dealing a body blow to the traders and businessmen dealing in them.

Meanwhile, in defiance of the Supreme Court orders, the Gurgaon city administration has allowed residents to burn crackers between 6 pm to 10 pm on Diwali.

Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said the relaxation has been given to those who have bought crackers in advance.

"We have framed certain guidelines for those who have already purchased crackers. They can burn them from 6 pm to 10 pm on October 19," he said.

The administration has also imposed IPC section 144 (unlawful assembly) in the city, and asked the residents to burn the crackers 100 meters away from private and government hospitals, educational institutions, religious places and courts.

"We have imposed a ban on those crackers that make a noise of more than 145 decibels. We have also directed the people not to use fire crackers within the radius of 500 meters from Indane bottling plant situated in Badshahpur and 100 meters away from fuel stations," Singh said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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