download-orderSupreme Court of India has refused to impose a blanket ban on the bursting of crackers or to expand the eight-hour night-time ban period on the same. However the bench of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra asked the government to take steps to create public awareness during Diwali festival on the ill-effects of fireworks and has conveyed its displeasure over its failure to do so by now.

Court shall next hear the matter in February 2016.

Case No. Writ Petition (Civil) No. 728 of 2015
Case Title Arjun Gopal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors
Parties Petitioners:

  1. Arjun Gopal
  2. Aarav Bhandari
  3. Zoya Rao Bhasin

  1. Union of India
  2. Central Pollution Control Board
  3. Delhi Pollution Control Committee
  4. The Delhi Police Licensing Unit

On October 8, Supreme Court had issued notice in the petition filed by three infants through their parents. On October 16, Court had asked Union Government to take steps to create awareness regarding the issue and had ordered:

The Union Governments and all the State Governments will give wide publicity both in print and Electronic media to the ill effects of fireworks and advise people accordingly.
We also direct the Teachers/ Lecturers/Assistant Professors/Professors of the Schools and Colleges to educate the students about the ill effects of the fireworks.

Govt to inform people of the ill-effects of fireworks

On October 28, appearing for the Petitioners, Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told court that the Union of India have not complied with the Court’s orders and directions issued on October 16. Bench conveyed its displeasure over this and said:
You should have done it on 16 October itself. It should be published continuously. This is not done.

Appearing for the Union of India, Solicitor General of India – Ranjit Kumar stated that the government would issue appropriate notification on regular basis from October 31, 2015 to November 12, 2015 (Diwali falls on November 11).

No blanket ban

Court however declined to pass an interim order at this stage and said: Declining to pass interim order at the initial stage, the bench said:

We cannot say so unless we have a regular hearing…At this moment, we cannot say that all persons should go to a ‘maidan’ for bursting crackers. [PTI]

Sri Kalishwari Fireworks which had filed an application for impleadment in the matter has been allowed to be made a party in the case. Impleadment application has also been filed by the Tamilnadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA).

Old orders reiterated

On the request of the counsels, Court reiterated the earlier orders and directions passed by the Court in the case of In Re: Noise Pollution – Restricting use of loudspeakers (Writ Petition (C) No. 72 of 1998, [(2o05) 5 SCC 733] where it had inter alia ordered:

1. On a comparison of the two systems, i.e. the present system of evaluating firecrackers on the basis of noise levels, and the other where the firecrackers shall be evaluated on the basis of chemical composition, we feel that the latter method is more practical and workable in Indian circumstances. It shall be followed unless and until replaced by a better system.

2. The Department of Explosives (DOE) shall undertake necessary research activity for the purpose and come out with the chemical formulae for each type or category or class of firecrackers. The DOE shall specify the proportion/composition as well as the maximum permissible weight of every chemical used in manufacturing firecrackers.

3. The Department of Explosives may divide the firecrackers into two categories- (i) Sound emitting firecrackers, and (ii) Colour/light emitting firecrackers.

4. There shall be a complete ban on bursting sound emitting firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am. It is not necessary to impose restrictions as to time on bursting of colour/light emitting firecrackers.

5. Every manufacturer shall on the box of each firecracker mention details of its chemical contents and that it satisfies the requirement as laid down by DOE. In case of a failure on the part of the manufacturer to mention the details or in cases where the contents of the box do not match the chemical formulae as stated on the box, the manufacturer may be held liable.

6. Firecrackers for the purpose of export may be manufactured bearing higher noise levels subject to the following conditions: (i) The manufacturer should be permitted to do so only when he has an export order with him and not otherwise;(ii) The noise levels for these firecrackers should conform to the noise standards prescribed in the country to which they are intended to be exported as per the export order; (iii) These firecrackers should have a different colour packing, from those intended to be sold in India; (iv) They must carry a declaration printed thereon something like ‘not for sale in India’ or ‘only for export to country AB’ and so on.