New Delhi: Observing how vehicles are bigger contributors to air pollution in the country, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 11) said, “Why are people running after firecrackers and seeking a ban on it when it seems that automobiles are bigger polluters.” The bench comprising Justices S A Bobde, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, asked centre if there is any data to show what proportion of pollution is caused by firecrackers in comparison to vehicles. The apex court asked Centre to give a comparative study on pollution by firecrackers and automobiles.
It seems you are running after firecrackers, but bigger pollution contributor is perhaps vehicles, the bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, a senior lawyer appearing for the Centre.
Supreme Court asks Centre to give a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers & automobiles, & observes that why people are running after firecrackers and seeking ban on it when it seems that automobile is the bigger polluter. pic.twitter.com/1xVd5F00XM
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2019
Further observing the impact of a blanket ban on manufacturing firecrackers, the Supreme Court said,
Court can’t generate unemployment by banning firecrackers and thereby closing the cracker units.
A N S Nadkarni informed the Supreme Court that a meeting of stakeholders to decide the formulation and composition to be used in the manufacturing of green crackers is scheduled for tomorrow (March 13). “It has been envisaged that product approval for the improved formulation shall be given by PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation) by March 21. Once the formulation comes and if there is any objection, then it will be dealt with.” The centre states that use of barium nitrate (green coloured-fireworks) for crackers has been banned by both the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Supreme Court. It was used only to check pollution from crackers.
Emphasising on the rights of the unemployed people, formerly involved in cracker industry, Justice S A Bobde asked the lawyer seeking banning crackers,
What about unemployed workers? We can’t provide or generate employment if firecracker trade is legal and they have a valid licence, how can this court stop it? Has the court ever tested the issue of ban on firecrackers from the view of Right to life under Article 19 (which says all citizens shall have the right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business)?
Further talking about why a blanket ban cannot be put on firecrackers, the apex court said,
Pollution levels vary from region to region and the same norms can’t be applied all over the country for banning crackers all over the country. Firecrackers are loud in India than other countries. So the international norms can’t be applied uniformly within the country.
The Supreme Court has fixed the case for April 3. The court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a ban on firecrackers across India calling them as a source of air pollution.
Last year, ahead of Diwali, on October 23, the Supreme Court said no direct blanket ban will be imposed on firecrackers. The bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan noted that only firecrackers that will be green in nature or eco-friendly will be allowed. On Diwali, barring Southern states, the Court fixed the time slot of 8 PM to 10 PM for the bursting of firecrackers.
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