The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will consider whether the manufacture and use of green crackers can be permitted or not and reserved the order on the issue.
A bench of justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh reserved the order after hearing the matter at length.
The top court was dealing with the issue relating to firecrackers. One of the pleas was filed by BJP leader Manoj Tiwari in 2022, challenging the blanket ban on firecrackers during Diwali celebrations in Delhi.
During the hearing, the court questioned whether they could act as a superior authority over the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and also remarked that one has to trust primary institutions.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the government, during the hearing, apprised the court that it was right that Barium was banned on the government proposal, but it was for the 2018 Diwali.
The court remarked that as of now everything is banned whether it is green or others.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati also apprised the court that Delhi Police has not issued any permanent licence on the firecrackers since 2016.
She also apprised the court that all permanent firework manufacturing licenses have been revoked and police will inspect all premises of licensees.
The court remarked that only punishing the ones who fired the crackers is not enough and authorities have to go to the source of these crackers.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said that rich people can burst crackers worth lakhs and then go back to their air-conditioned homes with air purifiers.
He also pointed out that no health organization has said that barium is okay and asked to look into aspects of the harmful barium on health.
Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO), in the affidavit, apprised the court about the Green Cracker approval process and said the Fireworks may be broadly classified as Sound Emitting; Light emitting and Combination fireworks.
However, with respect to light-emitting fireworks, the variation maybe four to five varieties with slight differences. The combination of fireworks uses both light and sound-emitting fireworks composition, PESO said.
“Accordingly, manufacturers licensed by PESO or District Magistrate with CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) and obtain improved formulation or New Formulation Fireworks Composition. After obtaining the same from CSIR-NEERI the manufacturers licensed by PESO make an application with PESO for approval of the said composition along with a certificate issued by NEERI,” the affidavit read.
“Accordingly, (approved composition) applications received from the manufacturers along with a certificate from NEERI for maintaining emission standards are processed and accorded in-principle approval by the respective offices of PESO strictly adhering to the timeline stipulated by the top court,” the affidavit added.
“For expediting usage of green crackers PESO has already instructed all the Fireworks manufacturers licensed by PESO to comply with the directives passed by this Court vide its order dated 23/10/2018. Accordingly, all fireworks manufacturers are advised to obtain an emission test report for improved formulation or new formulation (Green Cracker) Composition from CSIR-NEERI,” the affidavit further said.
In the last hearing, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on Thursday apprised the Supreme Court that about the measures being taken by the concerned agencies and the Fireworks Manufacturers to address the concerns raised by the top court earlier.
The Ministry of Environment also urged the Supreme Court to permit it to take steps for the smooth implementation and quality control of Green Crackers.
The Ministry meanwhile apprised the court about the measures being taken by the concerned agencies and the Fireworks Manufacturers to accept and address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court earlier.
The top court was hearing a plea relating to the use of firecrackers during Diwali festivals.
In 2021, the Supreme Court clarified there is no blanket ban on the use of firecrackers and only those fireworks which contain barium salts are prohibited.