- Analysing the evolution of banning of crackers in India through various judgements.
- The need for such judgments.
- Various legislations and authorities governing cracker ban in India.
The history of the cracker ban judgment in India revolves around the issue of regulating firecrackers to address concerns related to environmental pollution, public health, and safety, especially during festivals like Diwali. It reflects the ongoing struggle to strike a balance between cultural and religious practices and environmental and health concerns. The legal framework in India empowers the government to regulate and restrict the use of firecrackers to protect the environment and public health, with the Supreme Court playing a pivotal role in shaping these regulations through its judgments and directives. The issue remains a contentious one, with debates on the ban's effectiveness and cultural implications.
- Firecracker usage in India during festivals, especially Diwali, had been a long-standing tradition.
- Growing concerns over air quality deterioration, noise pollution, and health issues due to firecracker emissions prompted regulatory action.
SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS:-
- In 2005, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment in the case of "M.C. Mehta v. Union of India" where it directed the government to regulate the use of fireworks to control pollution.
- In 2015, the Supreme Court allowed the sale of only "green crackers" with reduced emissions.
- In 2018, the Court imposed time restrictions on the use of firecrackers during Diwali and other festivals.
- In November 2018, the Supreme Court imposed a partial ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the "M.C. Mehta v. Union of India" case.
- The ban restricted the use of firecrackers to specific hours during Diwali and other festivals.
- It aimed to balance the right to celebrate with the right to breathe clean air.
LEGISLATIONS GOVERNING CRACKER USE:-
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:-
- Empowers the central government to take measures to protect and improve the environment.
- Section 3(2)(v): Empowers the central government to take measures to protect and improve the environment, including regulating and restricting the use of hazardous substances.
- Section 5: Authorizes the central government to issue directions for the prevention, control, and abatement of environmental pollution.
- The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000:-
- Regulates noise pollution and sets permissible noise levels for various zones.
- Rule 4: Specifies permissible noise levels for different areas, including residential, commercial, and industrial zones.
- Rule 5: Regulates the use of loudspeakers and public address systems.
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981:-
- Governs air quality standards and measures to control air pollution.
- Section 2(a): Defines "air pollutant" and "emission standards."
- Section 17: Empowers the state government to take measures to prevent and control air pollution.
- Section 18: Gives authorities the power to inspect premises, issue directions, and take samples.
- Various state governments have implemented stricter regulations and bans on firecrackers in line with the Supreme Court's directives.
- Litigations and public debates regarding the ban continue to evolve, with stakeholders representing both environmental concerns and cultural traditions.
PUBLIC OPINION AND CHALLENGES:-
- The cracker ban has been a subject of public debate, with some arguing that it impinges on cultural and religious traditions, while others support it as a necessary step to curb pollution.
- Emerging concerns over environmental pollution and health impacts.
- Firecracker usage in India as a cultural and religious tradition.
RELEVANT CASE LAWS:-
1. 2005 "M.C. Mehta v. Union of India" Case:-
- In this landmark case, the Supreme Court directed the government to regulate firecrackers to control pollution.
- Established the legal precedent for addressing environmental concerns related to firecrackers.
2. 2015 "Green Crackers" Directive:-
- The Supreme Court allowed the sale of only "green crackers" with reduced emissions.
- Focused on promoting eco-friendly fireworks.
3. 2018 "M.C. Mehta v. Union of India" Ban:-
- The Supreme Court imposed a partial ban on the sale and use of firecrackers.
- Restricted the use of firecrackers to specific hours during Diwali and other festivals.
- Balancing the right to celebrate with the right to clean air.
- "Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh (Railway) and Others v. Union of India" Case:-
In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the ban on firecrackers, citing environmental and health concerns, and emphasized the need to protect the health of vulnerable groups.
- "Arjun Gopal & Ors v. Union of India & Ors" Case:-
In this case, the Supreme Court reinforced the importance of adhering to the time restrictions on firecracker use, especially during Diwali, to minimize the adverse effects on air quality and health.
- "Guruvayur Devaswom Managing Committee & Ors v. C.K. Rajan & Ors" Case:-
In this case, the Supreme Court allowed the use of low-decibel firecrackers during temple festivals in Kerala to balance cultural and religious practices with noise pollution concerns.
2020 FIRECRACKER BAN:-
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several states imposed complete bans on firecrackers to prevent air pollution and protect respiratory health.
STATE LEVEL REGULATIONS:-
Various state governments have implemented their own regulations and bans on firecrackers in line with Supreme Court directives.
ONGOING LITIGATIONS AND DEBATES:-
Public opinions and legal challenges continue to evolve, with stakeholders representing both environmental concerns and cultural traditions.
AUTHORITIES GOVERNING FIRECRACKER REGULATION:-
- Supreme Court of India:-
The Supreme Court has played a pivotal role in shaping regulations related to firecrackers through various judgments and directives, including the ban on the sale and use of certain types of firecrackers during festivals like Diwali.
- National Green Tribunal (NGT):-
NGT is a specialized body for environmental cases in India and has issued orders and directives related to the regulation of firecrackers and their impact on the environment.
- State Governments and Local Authorities:-
- State governments have the authority to implement and enforce firecracker bans and regulations within their respective jurisdictions.
- Local authorities, such as municipal corporations and police departments, play a role in enforcing these regulations and ensuring compliance.
4. Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO):-
- PESO is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safety of explosives, including fireworks.
- PESO issues guidelines and directions related to the manufacturing, storage, and usage of fireworks.
These legislations and authorities collectively provide the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms to regulate firecrackers, control pollution, and protect public health and the environment in India. The relevant sections and authorities work in concert to address the complex issue of firecracker bans and their impact on the environment and public well-being.
NEED FOR FIRECRACKER BAN:-
The historical context of the cracker ban in India is rooted in the long-standing tradition of firecracker usage during various festivals, most notably Diwali. For centuries, people in India have celebrated festivals with the use of fireworks, considering them an integral part of cultural and religious celebrations. However, over time, several factors contributed to the need for a cracker ban:
1. Air Quality Concerns: As urbanization and industrialization increased in India, so did air pollution. The bursting of firecrackers, especially during Diwali, was identified as a significant contributor to the deterioration of air quality. Cities experienced severe smog and hazardous air pollution levels during the festival.
2. Noise Pollution: Firecrackers also led to significant noise pollution, which not only disturbed individuals but also had adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, and pets. This noise pollution led to numerous complaints and health concerns.
3. Health Impacts: The chemicals and particulate matter released from fireworks were found to have adverse health effects, particularly on individuals with respiratory conditions. This prompted concerns about public health and well-being.
4. Environmental Conservation: The growing awareness of environmental conservation and sustainability led to calls for more eco-friendly and less polluting firecrackers. The traditional firecrackers contained harmful chemicals and heavy metals, contributing to soil and water pollution.
5. Legal Challenges: A series of public interest litigations (PILs) were filed in Indian courts to address the environmental and health impacts of firecrackers, leading to landmark judgments and legal directives.
As a response to these concerns, the Indian legal system and the Supreme Court, in particular, have played a significant role in shaping regulations and judgments related to the use of firecrackers. These legal actions have attempted to strike a balance between preserving cultural and religious traditions and addressing environmental and health concerns. The historical context underscores the need for a cracker ban as a means to safeguard public health, reduce pollution, and promote eco-friendly celebrations.
RECENT RULING OF SUPREEME COURT:-
In a recent ruling on September 22, 2023, the Supreme Court of India rejected pleas to include barium as an ingredient in fireworks while maintaining the ban on the sale and bursting of joint crackers. The court emphasized the need for the authorities and Delhi Police to regulate violations of the firecracker ban in the national capital. The court also expressed concerns about the dangers posed by fireworks to health and the environment, suggesting that merely filing cases against individuals using firecrackers may not be a sufficient solution. Despite the ban, police statistics revealed a significant number of cases related to firecrackers, and efforts were being made to prevent their sale, storage, and use. The government body responsible for fireworks safety was working to expedite the usage of green crackers, complying with Supreme Court directives.
The history of cracker ban judgments in India reflects the ongoing struggle to strike a balance between cultural and religious practices and environmental and health concerns.
The legal framework empowers the government to regulate and restrict the use of firecrackers to protect the environment and public health, with the Supreme Court playing a pivotal role in shaping these regulations through its judgments and directives.