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The decision comes a little over a week before the festival of lights when Delhi fills with acrid smoke from celebratory firecrackers set off day and night. Mr Bagga said it would not be a violation of the court order, "because the court has only banned the sale of firecrackers, it has not put a ban on buying or bursting them."The controversy started yesterday, when responding to a petition by three children regarding the noxious post-Diwali pollution, the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers till November 1".

The onset of winter usually worsens the situation as cooler temperatures trap the pollutants, exacerbated by crop burning in neighbouring states. The court also went on to say that firecrackers will be available in the NCR from November 1 onwards. As there is no ban on bursting firecrackers, those who have already stocked the crackers would still be able to burst them which would throw the court's attempt to curb air pollution, into disarray.

On October 6, a bench of Justices AK Sikri, Abhay Manohar Sapre and Ashok Bhushan reserved its order on the plea seeking restoration of the top court's previous year order banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR.

Though the order dealt a severe blow to the traders and businessmen dealing in them, it was widely welcomed by environmentalists.

Counsel to the traders said that a huge amount of money has been invested after licences were revived and the apex court order would cause huge loss.

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Besides, a special public awareness campaign will be undertaken seeking support of people to prevent air and sound pollution during the ensuing festival, he said.

At the time the court had said that a complete ban would be an "extreme step".

Pulkit Choudhury, an engineering student from Rajouri Garden, said, "My cousins from other cities will certainly get me crackers from their hometowns and we will celebrate here in Delhi".

Even as the Supreme Court ordered a complete ban on sale of fireworks this Diwali on the ground, it may have forgotten to net the virtual shopping world to this end.

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