Vehicles pollute more than firecrackers: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court cannot kill the jobs of thousands of poor people working in the firecracker industry, driving them to starvation. If the court cannot generate jobs, its orders should not extinguish their livelihood, it observed hinting at the possibility of revisiting the order banning manufacture, sale of loud and toxic firecrackers.

Citing air pollution, the apex court by an order dated October 23, 2018 while allowing only green and improved crackers, had restricted the use of firecrackers before, after and during Diwali. Several applications were filed on behalf of manufacturers association, the state of Tamil Nadu and others for modification of the order.

During the resumed hearing, Justices S.A. Bobde sitting with Justice Abdul Nazeer told the counsel, “We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecracker-manufacturing units. We do not want to generate unemployment.”

Additional solicitor general A.N.S. Nadkarni informed the court that a meeting of the stakeholders is to be held in the capital on Wednesday when the composition and formulations for green crackers would be tested. He clarified those conventional formulations like barium nitrate and potassium nitrate were used only for testing the efficiency. New formulations for green crackers will be developed without use of barium nitrate, he added.

When senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan appearing for Tamil Nadu drew the court’s attention that thousands of workers are rendered jobless because of the October 23 order, Justice Bobde observed the court couldn’t render thousands of workers unemployed.

At the outset, the court asked the Centre to give a comparative study on pollution caused by firecrackers and automobiles, and observed that people are running after firecrackers and seeking ban on them when it seems that automobile is the bigger polluter.

Justice Bode also asked the Centre to suggest some way of preventing unemployment in the sector.

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