SC indicates rethink on firecrackers ban

SC indicates rethink on firecrackers ban

What about people rendered jobless, SC asks Union Government

The Supreme Court on Tuesday quizzed the Centre as to why everyone was after firecrackers when automobiles were found to be major pollutants.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer asked the Union government as to what would happen to people employed in the firecrackers industry as one can't generate unemployment and render people jobless like this.

"Find out ways to deal with it. Since it is legal occupation, how can you cancel a licence, a way out may be to change licencing conditions," the bench told Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre.

"The issue is to be examined against the right to earn living," the bench said, examining a petition filed by Arjun Gopal on firecrackers ban.

A new bench on Tuesday took up the matter after the retirement of then presiding judge, Justice A K Sikri, who had ordered for manufacturing and selling of green crackers.

The court's observations indicated a rethink on the ban imposed earlier on polluting crackers.

The court sought to know if there is a comparative study on pollutions being caused by automobiles and crackers.

The court had last month expressed displeasure over inabilities of various agencies to find out formulae for green crackers, saying 974 cracker factories have been closed down in Tamil Nadu and about four lakh workers rendered jobless.

“We had ordered for ban on polluting cracker in the belief that some alternate formulation is in place. Where are the green crackers" the court had said.

The court had then pulled up National Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) for delaying handing over formulae of green crackers to manufacturers despite an assurance way back in August last year.

“Some way has to be found, you can't delay like this. Some balancing act to protect the livelihood of workers and also ensure no pollution on account of cracker bursting,” the court had then said.

The government counsel had submitted the NEERI has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a number of manufacturers for making green crackers and for its trial. A meeting took place on January 4, and a decision would be taken soon.

In a judgment in Arjun Gopal case, the top court had on October 23, 2018, banned the polluting crackers keeping in mind worsening air quality, and allowed only bursting of green crackers.