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Indic Collective @indiccollective
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Arguments in the Diwali Firecracker ban Petition have resumed before the Bench comprising of Justices Shri A.K.Sikri and Shri Ashok Bhushan.
2. Mr. Dhruv Mehta, Senior Advocate, has commenced arguments for Respondent No. 7, which is against the ban on sale of firecrackers.
3. Mr. Mehta submits that no empirical basis has been placed before the Court to attribute the levels of pollution in NCR to bursting of fireworks.
4. Mr. Mehta is walking the Court through the process of grant of license under the Explosives Act.
5. Mr. Mehta is placing before the Court the existing regulatory regime for fireworks under the Environment Protection Act and the Rules.
6. Mr. Mehta submits that regular monitoring and regulation, not a blanket ban, is the mandate under the Environment Protection Act and Rules.
7. Mr. Mehta submits that the spike in pollution levels witnessed during Diwali also dissipates immediately after Diwali.
8. Mr. Mehta is placing before the Court the regulations existing in UK on use of fireworks for Diwali celebration in that country.
9. Mr. Mehta also points out that over 5 lakh ppl are directly or indirectly employed by the fireworks industry whose annual turnover is INR 6000 crores.
10. Mr. Mehta is placing reliance on the judgement in the Godavat Pan Masala case.
11. Mr. Mehta submits that the restriction under Article 19(6) must be proportionate to the problem and must not be excessive.
12. Mr. Mehta is citing Para 60 from the 2016 judgement of the Supreme Court in Modern Dental case. This lays down the test of proportionality and reasonableness of a restriction.
13. Mr. Mehta submits that a ban calls for expert and concrete evidence to support the ban.
14. Mr. Mehta cites a 2017 judgement on the relationship between law and economics to make the point that the Court must be cognizant of the economic implications of its decisions in such matters.
15. Mr. Mehta has concluded his submissions. Mr. Shekhar Naphde is now arguing on behalf of the State Government of Tamil Nadu.
16. Mr. Naphde submits that the CPCB Report was prepared without consulting the Fireworks Research and Development Organisation which is an important stakeholder in the issue. Therefore, the report is not in compliance with the directions of the Hon'ble Court.
17. The Court is asking the Counsel for the Union the status of the report of the FDRC. The Counsel for the Union submits that NEERI is undertaking a study. The court points out that the NEERI is not a party to the Petition.
18. The Bench is asking the Counsel for the Union Government to clarify its position before the Court on the issue. The Counsel for the Union submits that a balance must be struck. The court asks the Counsel for the Union to explain that position further with concrete suggestions
19. Matter adjourned to August 21st with directions to the Union to file its affidavit.
20. Arguments concluded for the day.
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