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Supreme Court says no to use of Barium Nitrate in firecrackers, says cannot celebrate on cost of others’ life

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused permission to use of Barium Nitrate in firecrackers, stating that celebrations cannot be held at the cost of others’ lives.

The Division Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna observed, “We cannot celebrate at the cost of life of others. From where do we get that celebration can only be from noisy crackers? Celebration can also be from Fuljhaddi etc and does not need noisy crackers.”

The Court noted that Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan has placed on record an additional affidavit on the basis of CBI report and what has transpired is indeed very disturbing.

Justice Shah found the reply filed by the manufacturers surprising which says that “when they found to have purchased a huge quantity of barium, it’s to be kept in godown, but not manufactured,”

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for association-respondent TANFAMA, requested the Court to let the manufacturers only use Barium Nitrite now. To which Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan replied that they cannot use any barium element.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta apprised the Court that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has also filed a separate affidavit.

The Supreme Court went on to observe, “We may pass an order that the entire quantity purchased be seized. It cannot be in godown also.”

Dutta submitted that the Court orders have to be complied with. But if some person has done something, let not the entire industry suffer.

Justice Shah said, “The Court is not averse to celebration, but the Court cannot celebrate at the cost of life of others. It is nowhere stated to celebrate using crackers that emit loud noises. Barium salt or no barium salt, major difficulty is that despite the ban on the manufacture and sale of joint crackers, you can go to any state, city or celebration, and see that they are still available in the market and are being used.”

On submission by Dushyant Dave regarding permission to use green crackers, Justice M.R. Shah stated, “The difficulty is that under the banner of green crackers, other banned articles are used.”

The Respondents have filed replies to the CBI report.

Senior Advocate G. Sankarananyanan stated that reply from the petitioner has been filed. Some of the counsels have received the replies.

The Supreme Court clearly said, “The order of the court on the ban of firecrackers should be followed by all the states. Along with this, the court also told the firecracker companies that we will not even allow firecrackers made from banned materials in the warehouse.”

On September 29, the Supreme Court issued had show cause notices to six firecracker manufacturers on the basis of a preliminary investigation report of CBI.

The Court said the CBI report on use of toxic chemicals in firecracker production is very serious, while noting that there has been violation of the court’s orders on use of barium and labelling of fireworks. The Bench took on record the preliminary inquiry report submitted by the CBI Joint Director pursuant to the Court’s earlier directions vide order dated March 3, 2020.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court indicated that it will consider cancelling the licences of companies. In this case, Advocate Aishwarya Bhati on behalf of CBI, requested the Supreme Court to hear the matter on the basis of the report prepared after thorough research and consider the matter on its own and find out the way forward.

The Bench noted that the preliminary inquiry report had been prepared on the basis of chemical analysis reports submitted by government laboratories and thus, there was no need to doubt its veracity. The court said, “Today, we have given permission to green firecrackers, then the same firecrackers will come in the market.”

The court also noted that people suffering from asthma and other diseases are suffering due to firecrackers. People burn crackers at every festival, function and other people keep getting upset. Nobody has anything to do.

The Bench also commented as to why FIRs and criminal proceedings must not be lodged against the manufacturers on the basis of CBI’s preliminary report.

Taking cognisance of the status report prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the top court had ordered that a quality control system should be installed in every firecracker factory.

It was also said that the responsibility of monitoring this system should be given to the officers of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation. The Bench has ordered to file a counter affidavit in the matter, while listing it for October 26.

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