SC notice to firecrackers cos for use of Barium salt

SC issues show cause notice to firecrackers manufacturers for use of Barium salt

'Only those suffering from Asthma can feel it...we cannot allow them to suffer and die,' the bench said on the violation of its October 2018 order

The matter is listed for next hearing on October 6. Credit: Reuters Photo

Maintaining that it has to take a balanced view of the matter, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said despite there being a celebration and bursting of firecrackers in the country every day, it cannot allow people to suffer and die due to air pollution.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna also said it cannot let manufacturers use green crackers as a label only to conceal harmful and banned substances.

"Only those suffering from Asthma can feel it...we cannot allow them to suffer and die," the bench said.

The top court issued a show-cause notice to firecracker manufacturers asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them, and also why their licences should not be cancelled, as CBI’s preliminary report indicted some of them for violating the top court’s ban on the use of barium and its salts.

Also Read | Complete ban on bursting, sale of firecrackers up to Jan 1 in Delhi

The court noted CBI’s report on the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing of firecrackers was very serious and there was also "prima facie" violation of the court's orders on the use of barium and labelling of fireworks.

“Why these companies cannot be punished and why their licences cannot be cancelled? They have purchased banned substance from market to manufacture crackers,” the bench asked.

The top court noted that CBI’s preliminary enquiry report has come out with a finding that banned harmful chemicals have been used by manufacturers such as Standard Fireworks, Vinavacia Fireworks Industries under the brand names of Sony, Shree Mariamman Fireworks and Amorces Industries and Selva Vinavaciar Fireworks.

The report also claimed that firecracker manufacturers were not disclosing the correct ingredients on the labels of the product. 

The court allowed the firecracker manufacturers to go through the CBI report and file a response to the same and fixed the matter for further hearing on October 6.

As a counsel representing a firecracker manufacturer asked the court to hear her client, the bench remarked, "Yes we will hear you, before sending you to jail.”

The report of the CBI's Joint Director, Chennai on Standard Fireworks claimed chemical analysis revealed that finished firecrackers and some samples of raw material contained barium salt. Some finished firecrackers which tested positive for barium were manufactured in the year 2020. The top court had on October 23, 2018 imposed the ban on use of barium salt due to its deleterious effect.

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