SC modifies order on bursting crackers, allows Tamil Nadu govt to decide two-hour window to celebrate Diwali for state

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to extend for Tamil Nadu the two-hour duration it had allowed to burst crackers. However, it modified its earlier order for the state, allowing the Tamil Nadu government to decide on the two-hour duration instead of sticking to the 8 pm to 10 pm period the Supreme Court had stipulated for the country.

At the hearing, the court had initially said it "would consider changing the time (for bursting crackers) for the four southern states" as per the Diwali traditions in the region.

On 23 October, the Supreme Court had put in place guidelines to regulate the sale of firecrackers and also directed that crackers should only be burst between 8 pm and 10 pm. The court had also said that there would be no blanket ban on the sale and use of firecrackers.

The court's modified order came in response to the Tamil Nadu government's plea, filed on Monday, in which it urged the court to allow bursting of firecrackers in the state on the morning of Diwali, in addition to the 8 pm to 10 pm permitted window.

On Tuesday, the court clarified that the order for green crackers on Diwali was applicable only to the Delhi-NCR region.

The Supreme Court emphasised that said the exemption for Tamil does not apply to the rest of India, India Today reported. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In North India, celebrate Diwali like it is usually celebrated here — during the night," the bench said.

The Tamil Nadu government's plea, filed through advocate B Vinod Khanna, sought modification of the 23 October Supreme Court order that allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm on Diwali, New Year's and Christmas. The Tamil Nadu government had sought for permission to burst crackers in the state between 4.30 am to 6.30 am, as well.

 SC modifies order on bursting crackers, allows Tamil Nadu govt to decide two-hour window to celebrate Diwali for state

Representational image. AFP

According to the petition, as far as Diwali celebrations are concerned, each state or sect has a separate set of beliefs, traditions and culture, and the apex court's restriction would amount to "rejecting the people with their due religious rights and would subject the people of the state into much hardship".

"Diwali is a practice religiously and scrupulously followed by Hindus from time immemorial, and it has become a core and essential religious practice, which is also protected under Article 25 of the Constitution as their fundamental right," it said.

In Tamil Nadu, people celebrate Diwali early in the morning to commemorate the death of Narakashura who was killed at dawn, the petition said. The plea also contended that the modification it had sought was in the interest of the environment.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 13:55:30 IST