Supreme Court to review Centre’s plea on use of green firecrackers this Diwali
The Supreme Court will on October 6 go into an affidavit filed by the environment ministry last October on the use of so-called green and improved fireworks -- hearing a case that could well decide whether this Diwali will see fireworks.
Additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, representing the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) informed the court that a lot of research and development has gone into this field following the court’s October 2018 judgment. She urged the court to consider the various proposals and formulations on green/improved crackers that the ministry has come up with in its affidavit filed before the court in October 2020.
The court’s October 23, 2018 judgment banned the sale and production of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR and regulated the use of firecrackers across the country. Barium-based firecrackers were specifically banned.
The bench questioned the anxiety of the ministry in this matter. “We fail to understand the anxiety of the MoEFCC when the (fireworks) manufacturers and TANFAMA are already before us.”
TANFAMA is an association representing 180 fireworks manufacturers, represented under the common banner Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association. Tamil Nadu is the hub of the fireworks trade in India.
Senior advocate ANS Nadkarni, appearing for TANFAMA, said that the Centre is not being anxious but responding compliance of October 2018 order.
The court told ASG Bhati, “We directed you to come up with green crackers. Even if we permit its use, we are certain that the crackers sold under the name will contain barium. You do not understand the problem. Only those persons will understand who suffer from asthma, respiratory problems and ... children.” Bhati replied, “The Centre is not being anxious. If the court wants a total ban on firecrackers, we do not want to join issues on that.” The bench said: “We are not sitting with a closed mind. If a via media can be found, we also want to see celebrations. We want to take a balanced view.”
It agreed to go into all those aspects raised by Centre.
On Wednesday, the court put six leading firecracker manufacturers in the country on notice for brazenly manufacturing and selling firecrackers containing barium and barium salts, expressly banned by the top court in October 2018. The ban of barium salts was proposed by the government because, on ignition, these release poisonous gas leading to respiratory problems.
The violations by manufacturers were highlighted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a report submitted in a sealed cover to the court in April this year.
“The report by CBI is very serious in nature. Considering the report of CBI pursuant to our order, prima facie it appears that they (manufacturers) have violated this court’s earlier orders on use of barium or barium salts as well as our orders with regard to labelling of firecrackers,” the bench said.