Supreme Court refuses nod to sale of green crackers, wishes Happy Diwali to all
The application sought approval for barium-based green crackers and demanded that the ban on joint crackers (popularly known as ‘laris’) to be lifted
The Supreme Court has refused to give its nod to green crackers containing barium salts, which the apex court had itself banned in October 2018, owing to its harmful health effects even as it wished everyone “Happy Diwali” while delivering its order in the case on Friday.
Passing a much-anticipated decision on an application filed by fireworks manufacturers seeking permission to produce improved crackers with 30% less emission, a bench of justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh said: “We have not allowed the application. Wherever there is violation of our earlier order (imposing ban), the same shall be regulated as per our earlier orders.”
The application sought approval for barium-based green crackers and demanded that the ban on joint crackers (popularly known as ‘laris’) to be lifted.
The Supreme Court banned crackers in October, 2018, in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by three minors led by Arjun Gopal who complained that the ban was openly flouted by manufacturers, and crackers found their way into the city posing questions on the enforcement of the order.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners, urged the Court last week to list the matter soon to which the bench replied, “We can only say Happy Diwali.”
The Court today said that the order is limited only to the application by manufacturers jointly represented under Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) who agreed to abide by the green cracker formulations approved by the two expert bodies - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and regulated by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO).
While the Centre had supported the application by saying that the ban imposed by Court in 2018 was restricted only for the Diwali that year, the bench had said last week: “What is good for one year is good for all time.”
The Centre had submitted that barium is not banned and research submitted by expert bodies showed how improved, or green, crackers would reduce pollution.
Additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati appearing for the Union government further informed the Court that trials for improved joint crackers is underway and will be shortly provided by CSIR-NEERI to the government.
The Court had also expressed serious concern over the easy availability of firecrackers despite the ban, and directed the Delhi police to submit a report on the steps taken to enforce its orders.
An action taken report submitted by Delhi Police showed that from 2016 until August this year, 926 cases of sale/storage were registered in which 740 persons were arrested while more than 2600 persons were rounded up in the past seven years for bursting crackers.
The bench had told the police, “What is the point in taking action after it happens. There must be a will on your part to find the source where it is coming from.”
The Court told Bhati to ensure no permanent or temporary license be issued to sell crackers in the Capital and the national capital region (NCR).
Sankaranarayanan told the Court that the new formulation proposed as green or improved crackers by the Centre had barium salts which has harmful effects on human health and results in breathing disorders.