Prime focus is right to life of citizens, says SC on firecrackers ban

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said its primary concern is to protect "the right to life of innocent people", which cannot be infringed under the guise of employment, while considering ban on firecrackers.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said its primary concern is to protect "the right to life of innocent people", which cannot be infringed under the guise of employment, while considering ban on firecrackers.

A bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna said it is important to strike balance between employment, unemployment, and the right to life of the citizen. It emphasised that under the guise of employment of a few, it cannot permit others to infringe the right to life of other citizens. On the aspect of burning firecrackers, the bench noted that everyday, there is a violation of orders, and pointed out at several crackers being set off at marriages and other functions. It added that the court would have to set up liability on someone, otherwise, this will not stop at all.

Senior advocate Atmaram Nadkarni, representing manufacturers' association of firecrackers, submitted that Diwali is on November 4 and the association wants Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to take a decision, adding that the government should decide the matter as lakhs of people are unemployed.

To this, the bench said: "If we find green crackers are there and accepted by the committee of experts, we will pass suitable orders." It also stressed that the orders of the top court should be implemented in true spirit.

Nadkarni contended that plight of lakhs of people who are working in the firecracker manufacturing industry should also be looked into.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the petitioner Arjun Gopal, submitted top court has passed several orders, and it had also passed directions that PESO will give final clearance to firecrackers -- which are safe.

Amid the heated argument, the bench, in a lighter vein, said: "We don't want any bursting of crackers in the courtroom. Everybody will get a chance..."

Additional Solicitor-General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Ministry of Environment and Forests, cited the October 2020 affidavit filed by the ministry, saying it covers all interim applications and experts have made suggestions on the issue of green crackers.

The top court is likely to continue hearing this matter on Wednesday.

Earlier, the top court had refused to impose a complete ban on sale of firecrackers, and directed only green crackers can be sold. The judgment came on a plea seeking ban on sale and manufacturing of firecrackers across the country, against the backdrop of increasing air pollution.

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