In what will bring cheer to the people in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court has modified its earlier order restricting the bursting of firecrackers between 8pm and 10pm during Deepavali taking into account the traditions and culture of the southern state. This comes after the Tamil Nadu government approached the apex court urging it to modify its order to allow the bursting of crackers between 4:30am and 6:30am during Deepavali.
In its modified order, the Supreme Court has allowed the timings for the bursting of firecrackers to be staggered and determined by respective state governments. Justice AK Sikri, however, stated that the time should not exceed two hours a day during the festival.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also clarified that its earlier direction on bursting of green crackers is limited to Delhi-NCR and not to other states. Justice Sikri said that he would pass a detailed order on Wednesday.
The Tamil Nadu government had on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking an order to permit the bursting of firecrackers from 4.30am to 6.30 am during the festival of Deepavali. In its petition, the Tamil Nadu government argued that the people of the state will be “deprived” of their rights of celebrating the festival by bursting crackers if the order is not modified.
“It is respectfully submitted that unless this Hon’ble Court passes appropriate further orders in the nature of modification / direction of its Order dated 23.10.2018 passed in the present Writ Petition, to enable the people of Tamil Nadu burst fire crackers in the early morning of Diwali as well, the same would amount to rejecting the people with their due religious rights and would also subject the people of Tamil Nadu into much hardship. It is further submitted that permitting bursting of the firecrackers in the morning also is in the interest of both the environment and the people,” stated the petition.
The Tamil Nadu government pointed out that while in north India, Diwali is celebrated on the night of November 7 this year, in Tamil Nadu Deepavali is celebrated on the morning of November 6.
Emphasising the different traditions and cultures, the petition says, “However, in the state of Tamil Nadu, Diwali, pronounced as ‘Deepavali’, is celebrated commemorating the death of Narakashura, the Evil, slain by the Goddess in the early hours of dawn. In Tamil Nadu, on the day of Diwali, people wake up early in the dawn at around 4.00 am, take Oil bath, wear new clothes, and start the celebration with bursting fire crackers in the early morning itself. The celebration goes all day. Diwali this year in Tamil Nadu, is on the early morning of 6th of November, 2018.”
On October 23, the Supreme Court took a decision to not order a blanket ban on fireworks, and also set a window period of 8pm to 10pm during which people across the country could burst firecrackers during Deepavali. In an effort to curb the effects of pollution, the apex court not only set this time limit, but also stated that only firecrackers of the ‘green’ or eco-friendly variety could be sold during this year’s festive season.