28 Oct 2021 4:56 PM GMT
While hearing an application alleging violation of the order banning the use of certain chemicals that were dangerous & beyond safety limits in the fireworks by the manufacturers, the Supreme Court today observed that it was not against any particular festival or commnunity but it could not permit others to play with the citizen's right to lives in the guise of powers. While...
While hearing an application alleging violation of the order banning the use of certain chemicals that were dangerous & beyond safety limits in the fireworks by the manufacturers, the Supreme Court today observed that it was not against any particular festival or commnunity but it could not permit others to play with the citizen's right to lives in the guise of powers.
While emphasizing on the implementation of its previous orders, the bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna remarked, "We are not against any particular festival or celebration but we cannot permit others to play with the right of life to others in the guise of celebration"
The Top Court also expressed its inclination of passing an order directing the CBI to investigate into the cases of manufacturers selling fake green crackers.
"None can be allowed to sell fake green crackers," the bench remarked.
Court Room Exchange
When the matter was called for hearing, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioners asked the bench to first take up the application in which the Top Court had issued notice.
Justice Shah at this juncture orally remarked, "When the earlier order of banning firecrackers was passed, it was passed after giving reasons. All crackers were not banned. It was in larger public interest. It should not be projected that it was banned for a particular purpose. Last time we said that we aren't coming in the way of enjoyment but we cannot come in the way of Fundamental Rights."
Appearing for Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Associations ("TANFAMA"), Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave submitted that no one was seeking review of the judgement and that even the association wanted full implementation of the Top Court's orders.
"Can we say that enjoyment can be done at the cost of other's lives? Today also we can see that crackers are being sold in the market. We had said last time also that there should be some accountability on behalf of those who had to implement the order. Nobody should believe that this order or that order is against a particular so and so, and we have not put any 100 per cent ban on firecrackers," Justice Shah further remarked.
During the course of hearing, Senior Counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan apprised the Court of the order dated October 23, 2018, wherein the Top Court had issued various directions with regards to firecrackers. He further submitted that all the alleged contemnors had filed their replies and had further filed separate applications seeking uplifting on ban of barium nitrate.
"The problem here is with respect to their responsibility. They have no explanation as to why they were using barium," Senior Counsel further added.
He further drew Court's attention to the prayers of the application in which one of the relief sought was to ban those manufacturers who sell crackers at the behest of the fact that they're green.
"They sell anything under the label that it's green," Senior Counsel added while submitting that the ban of barium was not only asserted by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change but even the manufacturers are aware about it.
"Mr counsel, in our country, even QR codes are found to be fake. What can be done? In our orders, we'll direct the CBI to conduct an investigation with respect to those manufacturers who are selling fake green crackers. None can be allowed to do that," Justice Shah remarked.
While adjourning the matter for October 29, 2021, Justice Shah said that post Diwali, the bench would take up the issue related to stubble burning.
"The issue of firecrackers is only for the time being. But the main matter related to stubble burning is pending and we haven't got time to deal with that. After vacations, we'll hear that issue too," remarked Justice Shah.
The Supreme Court on October 6 2021 observed that its earlier orders pertaining to the regulation of firecrackers must be complied with by every State.
On September 29, the Court had expressed strong reservations to the fact that the preliminary enquiry report submitted by the Joint Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Chennai had divulged that six firecracker manufacturers based in Tamil Nadu had been using barium and barium salts in the making of firecrackers in express violation of the ban imposed by the Court on the use of such chemicals.
On March 3, 2020, the Top Court had issued notice to the respondents-manufacturers M/s Standard Fireworks, M/s Hindustan Fireworks, M/s Vinayaga Fireworks Industries, M/s Shree Mariamman Fireworks, M/s Shree Suryakala Fireworks and M/s Selva Vinayagar Fireworks, except respondent no.5, to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of this Court for the alleged violation of this Court's earlier orders.
"If the aforesaid allegations are true then there is no doubt that the respondents-manufacturers would be guilty of contempt of this Court.", the Bench remarked.
Directions were also issued to the Joint Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Chennai, to make a detailed investigation regarding the alleged violation of this Court's earlier orders by the aforesaid respondents-manufacturers by using the ingredients which have been banned and by mislabeling their products contrary to the directions of this Court as stated in the instant application & submit a report to the Court within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of copy of the order.
On October 23, 2018, the Top Court had ruled against imposing complete ban on firecrackers but has said that only less polluting green crackers can be sold, that too only through licensed traders. The Court had banned online sale of firecrackers, restraining e-commerce websites from carrying out its sale, fixed the duration for bursting of crackers and had ordered that crackers could be burst only in designated areas.
The Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur & Justice Prafulla C Pant on February 10, 2017 directed the respondents including the manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to mention the name and address of the manufacturer and the name and address of the person who is responsible on any fire cracker sold in box/carton to hold the person accountable in case of violation of any of the provisions of the law.
Case Title: Arjun Gopal & Ors v. Union of India & Ors| Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 728/2015
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