November 8, 2023
NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the ban on the manufacturing, sale and bursting of firecrackers with Barium and harmful chemicals to reduce air and noise pollution is in all the States and Union Territories across the country.
A bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh said this in a clarification while hearing a plea seeking direction to Rajasthan government to comply with the top court directions banning crackers with barium and harmful chemicals composition and to minimise air and noise pollution during festive season.
Stating that no fresh directions are required to be issued, the bench said: “At this juncture, no specific order will be necessary in as much as this court in the course of the hearing of the petition has passed several orders, where steps have been indicated to minimise and avoid air as well as noise pollution. Hence the said order will bind every State in the country, including the State of Rajasthan. Therefore, we make it clear that the State of Rajasthan would also take note of this and take all steps to minimise air and noise pollution, not only during the festival season, but even thereafter.”
The top court had on October 6, 2021 slammed the use of banned toxic chemicals in the firecrackers, while being projected as green crackers. A bench of Justice MR Shah (since retired) and Justice AS Bopanna on October 6, 2021 had said that they were not averse to celebrations, but not at the cost of life of the citizens and the festivities do not mean use of loud crackers.
An advocate appearing for the applicant seeking direction to Rajasthan government today told the bench that there appears to be a perception that the ban on the crackers with Barium and harmful chemicals was limited to Delhi National Capital Region and whereas the ban was applicable across the country. The applicant said that three was a rise in the air and noise pollution and without direction nobody will take responsibility in the administration.
The applicant had sought a specific direction to district administration in Udaipur citing it is a sought-after destination for weddings throughout the year.
In an appreciation of the younger generation, Justice Bopanna said, “These days children don’t burst crackers, it is the adults.”
Justice Sundresh said that there was a wrong perception that when it comes to environment protection, it is the duty of the courts alone to step in.
An advocate appearing for the Rajasthan government told the bench that the spike in the air and noise pollution, due to bursting of firecrackers, was minor and that if people want to celebrate Diwali, there must be self- restraint.
Every citizen must see to it that if they celebrate Diwali, with lesser number of crackers, advocate for Rajasthan government said.
The Supreme Court had on October 23, 2018, banned the use of Barium as an oxidiser in the firecrackers.
Barium is used in crackers to produce the green colour in fireworks. It also acts as a stabilising agent to give firecrackers a longer shelf-life. Besides barium, potassium nitrate, aluminium chips and powder too are used in firecrackers.