On Cracker Ban, Supreme Court Says Celebration Cannot Be At Cost Of Health

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Celebration cannot be at the cost of others’ health, the Supreme Court said on Friday and clarified that while there is no total ban on use of firecrackers, those fireworks which contain Barium salts are prohibited.
Warning that top officials at various levels “shall be held personally liable” for any lapses, the Supreme Court said it is unfortunate that despite various directions issued by it there is a blatant violation going on.

Despite the ban on use of Barium salts in the firecrackers, prohibited crackers are being manufactured, transported, sold and used, it said.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said that no authority can be permitted to violate the directions issued by it and allow banned firecrackers in the guise of celebration.

Everybody including the implementing agencies are bound to see that the directions issued by the courts are implemented and followed in true spirit and in toto, the top court said.

Prima facie it appears that the implementing agencies of the concerned states either lack desire to implement the directions issued by this court or they close their eyes for whatever reasons, it said.

The Supreme Court further asserted that celebration cannot be at the cost of the other’s health.

Under the guise of celebration, nobody can be permitted to infringe the right to health of others, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and nobody can be allowed to play with the life of the others, more particularly the senior citizens and the children, it 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.

It further noted that 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.

“There is a report submitted by the CBI submitted pursuant to the earlier directions/orders passed by this court and it prima facie appears that there is a blatant violation of the directions issued by this court by the respective manufacturers and the banned firecrackers are being sold and used in the markets. The allegations, if found to be true, are very serious and cannot be tolerated,” the Supreme Court said.

The court reiterated the directions issued by it earlier including banning the use of Barium salts in the firecrackers and manufacturing and selling joined firecrackers.

It directed all the states/Union Territories to see that the directions issued earlier by it as also on Friday are strictly complied with in true spirit and in toto.

“Any lapse on the part of the state governments/ state agencies and UTs shall be viewed very seriously and if it is found that any banned firecrackers are manufactured, sold and used in any particular area, the Chief Secretary of the concerned state(s), the Secretary (Homes) of the concerned state(s) and the Commissioner of Police and DSP of the concerned area and the SHO/police officer in-charge of the concerned police station shall be held personally liable,” the bench said.

Nobody can be permitted to flout and disobey the directions issued by the top court, it said, adding that any wilful and deliberate disobedience shall have to be viewed very seriously.

It directed all the states/UTs to give due publicity through electronic/print media and local cable services to make the people aware of the directions issued by the court on manufacture, use and sale of banned firecrackers.

The matter is listed for further consideration on November 30.

The SC Thursday had dispelled the impression that it was against a particular group or community by banning firecrackers and said it cannot allow violation of rights of citizens under the guise of enjoyment.

It had made it clear that it wants full implementation of its orders to send a message that it is here to protect the rights of people and can even pass an order for CBI investigation concerning those manufacturers who are selling fake green crackers.

“Under the guise of enjoyment, you (manufacturers) cannot play with the lives of citizens. We are not against a particular community. We want to send a strong message that we are here for the protection of fundamental rights of citizens,” the bench had said.

The bench had said that it is not averse to the celebration but not at the cost of the life of other citizens.

The Supreme Court said that celebration does not mean the use of loud crackers and it can also be from “fuljhaddi” etc. which are not noisy. It had ordered six manufacturers to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of its orders.

It had said it cannot infringe the right to life of other citizens under the guise of employment while considering a ban on firecrackers and its prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens.

The Supreme Court had earlier refused to impose a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers and said that sales can happen through only licensed traders and that only green crackers can be sold. The online sale of firecrackers has been completely banned.

The verdict had come in response to a plea seeking a ban on the manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.

In the past, the Supreme Court had said that while deciding on a ban on firecrackers, it is imperative to take into account the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people of the country.

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