No firecrackers this Diwali? Supreme Court to pronounce verdict on countrywide ban today: 10 points

The Supreme Court had on August 28 reserved its order on the plea for a countrywide ban on firecrackers to curb the worsening air quality.

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The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce verdict today on a plea seeking a ban on the manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution. This comes as the air quality in many parts of the country, including in capital Delhi, has deteriorated due to stubble burning in recent weeks. 

A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan which had reserved its verdict on August 28 is to pronounce the judgement ahead of Diwali. The verdict holds significance as last year's ban on firecrackers during Diwali had invited heavy criticism from several quarters. 

Here is what we know about the case in Supreme Court: 

1. The Supreme Court had on August 28 reserved its order on the plea for a countrywide ban on firecrackers to curb the worsening air quality. 

2. The court had heard the petitioners, firecrackers manufacturers, the Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) before reserving the order.

3. The apex court had earlier said there is a need to take into account all aspects, including the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people in the country while considering a plea for the ban.

4. The top court had said Article 21 (right to life) of Constitution applies to both segments of people and it needs to maintain a balance while considering a countrywide ban on firecrackers.

5. The apex court had asked the Centre to suggest measures to be taken for curbing the pollution and what will be the effect of firecrackers on the public at large.

6. The apex court had on August 8 said a spike in PM 2.5 levels in the air is a severe problem as the particulate matter remains in people's lungs, leading to serious health implications.

7. Firecrackers manufacturers earlier told the court that use of firecrackers should not be completely banned and it should instead be strictly regulated. They have contended that the crackers are not the reason for increase in air pollution and there are other factors, like wind and temperature, which contribute to it.

8. They have said the firecracker manufacturers can be deprived of their right to do business based on statements which were not supported by facts.

9. On October 9 last year, the top court temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali. Later, the court refused to relax its order while dismissing a plea by traders who had sought permission to sell crackers for at least a day or two before Diwali on October 19, 2017.

10. The apex court said its ban order during Diwali that year was an experiment to examine its effect on the pollution levels in the region.

(With PTI inputs) 

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