New Delhi, Oct 13: Days after Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR , the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday set a three hours time limit on bursting of firecrackers on Diwali in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The HC has fixed 6:30 pm-9:30 pm as the time allowed to burst firecrackers. It has also issued  guidelines for granting temporary licences to firecracker sellers. The division bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Amit Rawal also directed the police officials to ensure adequate PCR vans are deployed to keep a check on flouting of order.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court refused to modify its October 9 order banning the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR and expressed anguish that its order was being given a communal twist. “We are pained to hear that some people are giving the order a communal colour. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very spiritual person in such matters,” said Justice A.K. Sikri, who along with two other judges authored the October 9 ban.

Earlier on October 9, the Supreme Court had imposed a blanket ban on sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR in the run-up of Diwali to check the alarming pollution level. A three-judge bench of the apex court had on Monday restored its November 2016 order, banning sale of crackers in NCR and suspended its September 2017 order – which allowed limited sale but banned imports from other states. (Also read: Maharashtra will not ban firecrackers, says Environment Min. Ramdas Kadam)

Following the order, the traders mentioned the matter before the court for an urgent hearing. They said their licences were revived in pursuance of the apex court’s September order and that they had procured firecrackers for the sale during Diwali. The traders told the Supreme Court that the latest order would cause huge loss to them as they have already invested huge amount of money after their licences were revived.