On Thursday, the 8th of April, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a notice in consideration of an application that was filed against the alleged use of chemicals by firework manufacturers which had earlier been directed to be banned by the Apex Court and thereafter mislabeling of such products contrary to directions issued by the Supreme Court.
In 2015, bench of the Supreme Court heard a plea which had been filed by the parents of three infants expressing concerns over the alarmingly degrading qualities of air in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi post the celebrations of Diwali due to the mass burning of firecrackers which were manufactured with harmful chemicals in it. It had sought the complete ban of bursting of firecrackers throughout the country in order to mitigate the dangers of such increased air pollution.
It was during the hearing of this case that the apex Court had been reminded of its earlier order issued on the 18th of July, 2005 in Noise Pollution (V), in Re 5 SCC 733, where the Court had directed the Department of Explosives (DOE) to “specify the proportion/composition as well as the maximum permissible weight of every chemical used in manufacturing firecrackers.”
In July 2017, the Supreme Court had, in its order by a bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lakur and Deepak Gupta had observed the dangerous impact of the use of some of the chemicals that are used widespread in the stated that “that no firecrackers manufactured by the respondents shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever. It is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi.”
Senior Adv Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who was representing the applicant in the instant case, had submitted before the Court, reminding the Hon’ble Court abut the filing of such Interlocutory application, and the erstwhile directions that were issued by the Court about replies to be filed in that regard.
The learned counsel appearing for the Crime Investigation Bureau (CBI), Additional Solicitor General of India, Aishwarya Bhati informed the Court of the completion of such investigation by the CBI. The report for the same had also been filed before the Court in secrecy inside a sealed envelope in accordance with the directions issued by the Hon’ble Court regarding the same.
In March, 2020, it was brought to the attention of the Court by learned Adv Gopal Sankaranarayanan of how many manufacturers have been using the banned chemicals for the manufacture of firecrackers contrary to the express directions of the Court in this regard in a few previous orders and judgements.
It was also noted by the Court that a lot of such manufacturers were not even complying with the labelling requirements vide order issued in 2017. Many of the manufacturers have been mislabeling the packages of the firecrackers where such banned chemicals are being used for the manufacture.
The court had entrusted to the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) the responsibility of ensuring compliance of the stated orders. Such compliance was to be carried out especially in the area of Sivakasi, which is regarded as the hub of manufacturers of firecrackers.
The Court further held that “The governmental authorities need to realize their responsibility regarding the care and protection of the health of the people in Delhi and NCR and the importance of launching a sustained campaign to reduce air pollution to manageable limits during Diwali and the period immediately thereafter. The health of children should be of foremost concern in this regard.”
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