A Chennai-based civil rights organisation on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking lifting of the ban on the sale of firecrackers in the national capital and NCR citing “cultural and religious rights of the Hindus and other communities” guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution. The lawyer for the petitioner — Indic Collective Trust — mentioned the matter for the lifting of the ban before the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The matter will come up for hearing on Friday. Temporary licence holders too had moved the top court for the recall of the October 9 order banning the sale of firecrackers till October 31.
Seeking restoration of the September 12 order lifting the ban on sale and stocking of firecrackers, the Trust said the Centre did not appear to have placed before the court the implication of the ban order on the fundamental rights of Hindus of Sanatan Dharma and Arya Samaj variant, Sikhs and Jains. The petitioner organisation has contended that the festival is celebrated in the North and South of India based on different traditions, while retaining certain commonalities such as lighting of lamps, chanting of prayers, exchange of gifts and bursting of firecrackers. “While in the North, the festival marks the celebration of the return of Lord Ram, in the South it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura,” the application seeking the lifting of the ban read.
Stating that “regardless of whether these beliefs and traditions pass muster on the anvils of modern secular rationalism”, the application by the Chennai-based organisation said: “These are nevertheless cherished beliefs and traditions which have been practised for centuries.” “Consequently”, the Indic Collective Trust said that “they form part of the religious and cultural rights of Indic communities under Article 25”. The top court had by its November 11, 2016 order banned the sale and stocking of firecrackers. This ban was lifted by the top court on September 12 this year.
However, on a plea for the recall of the September 12 lifting order, the top court restored the ban till October 31, saying the September 12 order would come into operation from November 1. The top court by its October 9 order had said that the impact of the ban on the sale of firecrackers on the air pollution in Delhi on Diwali should be tested at least once.
Source: Financial Express