NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on October 10 a plea filed by BJP MP Manoj Tiwari against the Delhi government's decision banning the storage, sale, and use of all types of firecrackers till January 1, 2023, to check pollution levels in the national capital.
Contending that freedom of religion cannot be taken away under the pretext of the right to life, Tiwari has also sought directions to all states not to take any coercive action like lodging FIR against common people found selling or using permissible firecrackers during the upcoming festival season like Deepawali.
The plea was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, which said it would be taken up on October 10.
The top court had last year clarified there is no blanket ban on the use of firecrackers and only those fireworks which contain barium salts are prohibited.
Warning that top officials at various levels "shall be held personally liable" for any lapses, the apex court had said it is unfortunate that despite its directions blatant violations were taking place.
The BJP MP, in his plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, has said that several state governments and certain high courts had in 2021 passed orders contrary to the stand taken by the apex court and imposed a blanket ban on firecrackers.
"With so many different orders, directions and views, it was confusing for the people at large to understand whether the firecrackers were allowed or not despite this court's refusal to put a blanket ban," said the plea, drawn by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha.
"In the name of Right to life, freedom of religion cannot be taken away and that a balance has to strike like that has been done through the decision of this court dated October 29, 2021," it said.
The petition alleged that despite clear orders of the top court, certain states and Union Territories did not take necessary steps to ensure proper arrangements for the celebration of Deepawali were made and instead registered FIRs and imposed a curfew.
"The chief secretaries, police commissioners, police district superintendents, station house officers, and others in order to comply with the orders of their respective state governments have taken action against the common people who while purchasing the firecrackers did not even have knowledge about the ingredients of the crackers at all," it said.
"That such arrests and FIRs on the festive season like Deepawali has not only brought a very bad message to the society at large and has unnecessarily created a fear and anger among the masses," the plea said....