Published: 30th October 2018
SC says time for bursting crackers in TN and Puducherry will change, but can't exceed two hours
This is a special exemption for Tamil Nadu, which traditionally celebrates Diwali during the early morning hours
The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its order fixing a slot of 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting firecrackers on Diwali and said the time will be changed in places like Tamil Nadu and Puducherry but not exceed two hours a day. The court allowed the Tamil Nadu government to set its own time period but said that the period cannot be more than two hours in a day.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also observed that the direction for permitting the use of green crackers was meant for the Delhi-NCR region and was not pan India.
The apex court was hearing several applications filed by the Tamil Nadu government and firecracker manufacturers seeking modification and clarification of its October 23 order.
On Monday, the Tamil Nadu government urged the apex court to allow firecrackers to be burst on Diwali morning in accordance with religious practices in the state, besides the already permitted 8 pm to 10 pm period. They had pleaded that the residents in the state be allowed to burst crackers between 4.30 am and 6.30 am.
The counsel appearing for firecracker manufacturers told the court that it was not possible to come up with green crackers this Diwali since there was no set composition for manufacturing them. This is a special exemption for Tamil Nadu, which traditionally celebrates Diwali during the early morning hours.
According to the petition, each state or sect has a separate set of beliefs and traditions as far as Diwali celebrations are concerned 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 had become a core and essential religious practice which is also protected under Article 25 of the Constitution as their fundamental right," it said. Diwali is celebrated in the state early in the morning to commemorate the death of Narakashura, it pointed out.
The Supreme Court also made it clear that the exemption will not apply to other states by saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In North India, celebrate Diwali like it is usually celebrated here, during the night."