A Writ Petition (Civil) No. 728 of 2015 was filed on September 24, 2015 on behalf of three infants, petitioning that children are much more vulnerable to air pollutants as exposure thereto may affect them in various ways, including aggravation of asthma, coughing, bronchitis, retarded nervous system breakdown, and even cognitive impairment. The Petitioners prayed that the use, in any form, of firecrackers, sparkles and minor explosives, in any form, during festivals or otherwise be banned.
The Supreme Court after considering the issue decided not to bring about a complete blanket ban but allow the use of crackers with the following restrictions –
- The crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers are allowed to be manufactured and sold through licensed sellers.
- The manufacture, sale, and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or laris) and those that contain Barium Salt are banned as the same causes huge air, noise and solid waste problems.
- No e-commerce websites, including Flipkart, Amazon etc., shall accept any online orders and effect online sales.
- Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) is directed to review the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly reducing Aluminum content, and also are expected to check the sound of each crackers and submit its report in respect thereof within a period of two weeks from October 24th 2018 with the help of Future Research Design Company (FRDC).
- Central Government/State Governments/Schools/Instructional Assistants in Colleges shall take up extensive public awareness campaigns informing the public about the harmful effects of firecrackers as well as be instrumental in implementing the court’s orders.
- On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurpurab etc., the permitted time for fireworks would strictly be from 8:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. only. On Christmas eve and New Year eve, when such fireworks start around midnight, i.e. 12:00 a.m., it would be from 11:55 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. only.
The Court while passing the order recognised the duty of the State to ensure a healthy environment in terms of Article 48A of the Constitution of India as well as the duty of the citizens to ensure the same under Article 51A(g) of the Constitution.
- This Diwali one will be allowed to burst crackers only from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. only.
- Only the manufacturers who produce green crackers and as per the guidelines of the Government will be allowed to sell crackers. Crackdown on manufacturers, distributors and sellers of prohibited crackers can be expected.
- The respective governments and police will be discharging the duty of ensuring the implementation of the Supreme Court orders. However, the implementation of this order may not be successful so close to Diwali, 2019 where the manufacturing of the prohibited crackers has probably completed and many sales have already concluded.