An SC bench will hear the matter on Friday.
A day after some traders moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order banning sale of crackers in Delhi-NCR till October 31, a Chennai-based NGO requested it to reconsider the decision, saying the religious and cultural aspects of the issue were not considered. (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd) The plea of ‘Indic Collective’ was mentioned by advocates Sai Deepak Iyer Suvidutt MS before a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha which said the matter will be heard on Friday by the appropriate bench. The petitioner NGO contended that the cultural and religious sentiments associated with Diwali was not been considered while banning sale of crackers in NCR and according it prayed for recall of the order. Concerned over poor quality of air, the Supreme Court on October 9 revived the ban on sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region during Diwali. In its plea, Indic Collective has submitted that the festival of Diwali has religious and cultural significance to Hindus of the Sanathan Dharma variant, Hindus of the Arya Samaj variant, Sikhs and Jains. “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. Regardless of whether these beliefs and traditions pass muster on the anvils of modern secular rationalism, these are nevertheless cherished beliefs and traditions which have been practiced for centuries. Consequently, they form part of the religious and cultural rights of Indic communities under Article 25 (right to religion),” the NGO submitted. “There are murals older than 700 years in the temples of Tamil Nadu which depict the celebration of Diwali with fireworks. Recorded history also shows that the bursting of firecrackers was prevalent in Delhi even during the reign of Aurangazeb as evidenced by a fiat issued by him in 1667 banning the display of fireworks on Diwali. This shows that at the very least, Delhi has a tradition of bursting firecrackers in celebration of Diwali which goes back to 350 years,” the petitioners contended. “In view of this long tradition, it is evident that regardless of whether the bursting of firecrackers is prescribed by Hindu scriptures, the festival has acquired a life of its own and the bursting of firecrackers has indeed become integral to the celebration of Diwali in the popular psyche. Another example on similar lines would be the introduction of the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi which is popularly attributed to Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. These aspects ought to have been placed before this Hon’ble Court before the order was passed,” it said.