Can't infringe on right to life: SC on firecrackers ban

Cannot infringe on right to life of other citizens under guise of employment: SC on firecrackers ban

A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said its prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court Tuesday said it cannot infringe upon the right to life of other citizens under the guise of employment of a few, in considering a ban on firecrackers.

"We have to strike the balance between employment, unemployment and the right to life of the citizen. Under the guise of employment of few we cannot permit others to infringe the right to life of other citizens," a bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said.

"Our prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens. If we find green crackers are there and accepted by the committee of experts we will pass suitable orders," the bench added.

Senior advocate Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for manufacturers' association of firecrackers, said that Diwali is approaching on November 4 and they want Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) to take a decision on the issue of firecrackers.

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He said the government should decide the matter as lakhs of people are unemployed in the industry.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioner Arjun Gopal, said series of orders have been passed by the top court and directions have been given that PESO will give final clearance to firecrackers which are safe.

When Nadkarni interrupted Sankaranarayanan, the bench in a lighter vein said, "We don't want any bursting of crackers in the courtroom. Everybody will get a chance. Also, I'm afraid of firecrackers."

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, said experts have come together and suggested formulations on the issue of green crackers.

Sankaranarayanan said despite several orders, the executive was not taking appropriate action to ban harmful crackers and the consistent sale of fireworks, prevalent before 2015, was still going on.

He said the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been giving certificates to firecracker manufacturers after getting into agreements with them. Sankaranarayanan alleged that Centre has now ignored PESO completely and indirectly attempts to ensure that barium nitrate ban is lifted.

The bench also said that everyday there is a violation of orders and in every religious event, victory processions, marriages we can see flouting of orders and we will have to fix liability on someone, else, this will not stop at all.

The court then posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday and asked Sankaranarayanan to submit a separate compilation of orders.

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