New Delhi: Ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered all state governments and Union Territories to ensure its directions banning use of barium salts in fireworks was strictly followed as it emphasised that there was no total ban on use of firecrackers, but only on those comprising banned substances.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna said: “It is made clear that there is no total ban on use of firecrackers. Only those firecrackers are banned, as directed hereinabove, which are found to be injurious to health and affecting the health of the citizens, more particularly the senior citizens and the children.”
The bench said celebrations cannot be at the cost of the other’s health and under the guise of celebration, nobody can be permitted to infringe the right to health of the others, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“Nobody can be permitted to play with the life of the others, more particularly the senior citizens and the children,” it added.
The bench said it is unfortunate that despite the various directions issued by the top court, there is a blatant violation, and it is alleged that manufacture, sale and use of banned fireworks continues.
“Despite the use of barium salts in the firecrackers being banned, manufacture and use of the joined fireworks have been banned and transporting and selling them across the country have also been banned physically and/or online, the banned firecrackers are being manufactured, transported, sold and used,” it noted.
The bench made it clear that any lapse on the part of the states/state agencies and UTs will be viewed very seriously.
“It is reported that even under the guise of ‘green crackers’, banned chemicals firecrackers are being sold and there is a mislabelling on the boxes and even the QR codes provided on the boxes of ‘green crackers’ are alleged to be fake”, it noted, citing a CBI report.
The top court cautioned that “if it is found that any banned firecrackers are manufactured, sold, and used in any particular area, the Chief Secretary of the concerned State, the Secretary (Home), and the Commissioner of Police, District Superintendent of Police of the concerned area and the SHO/Police Officer in-charge of the concerned police station would be held personally liable”.
It made it clear that nobody can be permitted to flout or disobey the directions issued by it and any wilful and deliberate disobedience would have to be viewed very seriously.
Earlier, the top court had said sale of firecrackers can happen through only licensed traders and that only green crackers can be sold, and the online sale of firecrackers has been completely banned.
The top court had passed judgment on the plea seeking a ban on manufacturing and sale of firecrackers citing increasing levels of air pollution.