The Supreme Court issued show-cause notices today to six firecracker manufacturers on the basis of a preliminary investigation report of the CBI.
The Division Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna 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 Apex Court was hearing an application seeking the regulation of firecrackers as well as a ban on the manufacture of firecrackers containing harmful chemicals such as barium nitrate. 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 canceling the licenses of companies. In this case, advocate Aishwarya Bhati, on behalf of the 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 that today we have given permission to green firecrackers, then the same firecrackers will come in the market.
The court also said 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 the CBI’s preliminary report.
The Court today allowed the manufacturers to peruse the CBI report and file a counter to the same. The case will now be heard on October 6, 2021.
The apex court had in October 23 , 2018 ordered that only green crackers without barium salt would be allowed to be manufactured in the country. The court had said that being a matter related to public health, quality check of every consignment of construction material of green firecrackers should be done.
Taking cognizance 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 Organization.