21 November 2022

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Supreme Court Bans Four Toxic Chemicals from Crackers


Supreme Court has prohibited use of five chemicals, labelled them as toxic by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in manufacture of firecrackers. Supreme Court’s order came in wake of a Petition filed by three Delhi children who requested Hon’ble Apex Court to intervene for regulating use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali. In its order dated 31st July, 2017, Supreme Court has directed that, no fire-crackers manufactured by Respondents shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever.

Further, it is the responsibility of Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance particularly, in Sivakasi. PESO functions under Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra. With an objective of ensuring safety and security of public and property from fire and explosion, Organisation as a statutory authority, is entrusted with administration of Explosives Act, 1884, Petroleum Act, 1934; Inflammable Substances Act, 1952 and following Rules framed under these Acts.

Supreme Court in its judgment delivered on 11th November, 2016 observed that, when Air Quality Index in the NCR is abysmally and threateningly severe, allowing free trade in fireworks which is a major source of noise and air pollution and is causing immense harm to the lives and health of citizens, and allowing availability of such fireworks or explosives constitutes a serious invasion of Freedoms and Rights conferred on citizens by Part III of Constitution of India. Such an invasion is all more deleterious towards rights and freedom of poor and underprivileged who must breathe such air without any means of protecting themselves. Bursting of crackers causes air pollution and affects lungs, eyes and ears of people. Supreme Court recognizes that, duty to ensure a healthy environment not only falls on State in terms of Article 48-A of the Constitution of India but also on all citizens under Article 51A(g) of Constitution. This Court has previously held that, fundamental duties in Part IV A of the Constitution could be a guiding factor in testing reasonableness of restrictions under Article 19(2)-(6) of Constitution of India.

Rule 1182 of Explosive Rules, 2008, framed under the Explosives Act, 1884 provides for manner in which licenses issued under Explosives Act, to store and sell explosives could be suspended or cancelled. Sub-rule (5) thereof specifically confers on Central Government a power to suspend or cancel a license if it considers that, it is in public interest. This provision also makes it, clear that, an opportunity to hear the licensee could be dispensed with if the Central Government considers that in public interest. Supreme Court has asked CPCB and PESO to jointly work for setting up of standards relating to air pollution caused by the bursting of fire crackers.

Tags : Crackers Chemical Ban

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