SC seeks Centre’s response on steps taken to stop sale of Chinese firecrackers
The bench was also surprised to learn that around 50 lakh kilograms was stocked in and around the National Capital Region (NCR).delhi Updated: Aug 28, 2017 23:29 IST
The Supreme Court asked the Centre what steps it had taken to implement the two-year-old Madras high court order of banning China-made firecrackers.
A bench headed by Justice MB Lokur sought to know the details from additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, while it was hearing an application filed by firecrackers manufacturers who have implored the court to lift a ban on sale of crackers.
Senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for the companies, said there was no quality control on the crackers imported from China. He said not only were they “much cheaper” but a lot of materials banned by the court were used to manufacture them. He then pointed to the Madras HC order that had asked the Centre to take steps to stop the sale.
“What have you (Centre) done about banning Chinese firecrackers,” the bench asked Anand, who said she would revert to the court within two days. Meanwhile, the bench reserved its order on the manufacturers’ application.
The bench was also surprised to learn that around 50 lakh kilograms was stocked in and around the National Capital Region (NCR). “Diwali is celebrated for around five days. In those five days, 10 lakh kg of firecrackers are used per day,” the bench remarked, shockingly.
The manufacturers clarified that the weight was not just of the explosive element in the crackers but also included the boxes in which they were packed.
The SC had in November 2016 ordered suspension of all licences permitting wholesale and retail sale of fireworks within the NCR and said that it will continue till further orders.
During the arguments, the manufacturers said the rise in air pollution in the Delhi-NCR during the Diwali season was due to several reasons, including crop burning in neighbouring states, and not entirely due to the firecrackers.
The Delhi Police informed the court that in 2016, they had given 968 temporary licences to sell firecrackers out of a total of 1,068 applications. It said last year, these licences were given for a period of 24 days during the festive seasons of Dussehra and Diwali.
Senior counsel Ajit Sinha said the court could consider the issue of curtailing the period as well as limiting the number of temporary licences.
“This court can rationalise it and if needed, reduce the number of licences. The time period can further be curtailed. Also the time limit for burning the crackers can also be brought down,” he said.
First Published: Aug 28, 2017 23:29 IST