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Supreme Court rejects plea seeking use of barium in firecrackers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea seeking the manufacture, sale and use of firecrackers containing barium chemicals. The top court also did not intervene in the Delhi Government's decision to put a complete ban on the use of firecrackers in the national capital.
A bench of justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh also wished "Happy Diwali", after reading the order. "We can only say, Happy Diwali," the court said.
The top court was dealing with the issue relating to firecrackers. One of the pleas was filed by BJP leader Manoj Tiwari in 2022, challenging the blanket ban on firecrackers during Diwali celebrations in Delhi.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the government, during the last hearing, had apprised the court that it was right that Barium was banned on the government proposal, but it was for the 2018 Diwali.
The court had remarked that as of now everything is banned whether it is green crackers or others in Delhi.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati had also apprised the court that Delhi Police has not issued any permanent licence on the firecrackers since 2016.
She also informed the court that all permanent firework manufacturing licenses have been revoked and police will inspect all premises of licensees.
The court remarked that only punishing the ones who fired the crackers is not enough and authorities have to go to the source of these crackers.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan had said that rich people can burst crackers worth lakhs and then go back to their air-conditioned homes with air purifiers.
He also pointed out that no health organisation has said that barium could be used and asked to look into aspects of the harmful barium on health.
Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO), in the affidavit, had apprised the court about the Green Cracker approval process and said the Fireworks may be broadly classified as Sound Emitting; Light emitting and Combination fireworks.
However, with respect to light-emitting fireworks, the variation may be four to five varieties with slight differences. The combination of fireworks uses both light and sound-emitting fireworks composition, PESO said.
"Accordingly, manufacturers licensed by PESO or District Magistrate with CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) and obtain improved formulation or New Formulation Fireworks Composition. After obtaining the same from CSIR-NEERI the manufacturers licensed by PESO make an application with PESO for approval of the said composition along with a certificate issued by NEERI," the affidavit read.
"Accordingly, (approved composition) applications received from the manufacturers along with a certificate from NEERI for maintaining emission standards are processed and accorded in-principle approval by the respective offices of PESO strictly adhering to the timeline stipulated by the top court," the affidavit added.
"For expediting usage of green crackers PESO has already instructed all the Fireworks manufacturers licensed by PESO to comply with the directives passed by this Court vide its order dated 23/10/2018. Accordingly, all fireworks manufacturers are advised to obtain an emission test report for improved formulation or new formulation (Green Cracker) Composition from CSIR-NEERI," the affidavit further said.
In the last hearing, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on Thursday apprised the Supreme Court about the measures being taken by the concerned agencies and the Fireworks Manufacturers to address the concerns raised by the top court earlier.
The Ministry of Environment also urged the Supreme Court to permit it to take steps for the smooth implementation and quality control of Green Crackers.
The Ministry meanwhile apprised the court about the measures being taken by the concerned agencies and the Fireworks Manufacturers to accept and address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court earlier.
The top court was hearing a plea relating to the use of firecrackers during Diwali festivals.
In 2021, the Supreme Court clarified there is no blanket ban on the use of firecrackers and only those fireworks which contain barium salts are prohibited.

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