Hon’ble Supreme Court issues guidelines on fireworks.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, today issued directions with respect to the use of firecrackers:

 (i)  The crackers with reduced emission (improved crackers) and green crackers only would be permitted to be manufactured and sold.

Reduced Emission firecrackers (Improved crackers):  

(a) In which use of ash as desiccant or filler materials in crackers is avoided for reduction in particulate matter by 15-20%. These can be implemented subject to approval by PESO, and

(b) the ones in which there is usage of charcoal meeting specifications of explosives and pyrotechnics as prescribed by PESO.

Green crackers: Safe water and air sprinklers (SWAS): Low emission sound and light emitting functional crackers with PM reduction by 30-35% and significant reduction in NOx and SO2 due to in-situ water generation as dust suppressant and low cost due to usage of low cost oxidants. These can be implemented subject to approval by PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization).

(ii)  Production and sale of crackers other than those mentioned in above has been banned.

(iii)  The manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or laris) is hereby banned as the same causes huge air, noise and solid waste problems.

(iv)  The sale shall only be through licensed traders and it shall be ensured that these licensed traders are selling those firecrackers which are permitted by this order.

(v)  No e-commerce websites, including Flipkart, Amazon etc., shall accept any online orders and effect online sales. Any such e-commerce companies found selling crackers online will be hauled up for contempt of court and the Court may also pass, in that eventuality, orders of monetary penalties as well.

(vi)  Barium salts in the fireworks is also hereby banned.

(vii)  PESO is directed to review the clinical composition of fireworks, particularly reducing Aluminum content, and shall submit its report in respect thereof within a period of two weeks from today. For undertaking this exercise, PESO would also associate FRDC.

(viii)  Even those crackers which have already been produced and they do not fulfil the conditions mentioned above will not be allowed to be sold in Delhi and NCR.

(ix)  PESO will ensure fireworks with permitted chemicals only to be purchased/possessed/sold/used during Diwali and all other religious festivals, of any religion whatsoever, and other occasions like marriages, etc. It shall test and check for the presence of banned chemicals like Lithium/Arsenic/ Antimony/Lead/Mercury.

(x)  PESO will ensure suspension of the licenses of manufacturers of such fireworks items and appropriate disposal of such stock.

(xi)  PESO will ensure that only those crackers whose decibel (sound) level are within the limits are allowed in the market and will ensure to take action by suspending the licenses of the manufacturers on such violations and disposal of such lots. In addition to this, the directions issued and restrictions imposed in the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on July 18, 2005 shall continue to be in force.

(xii)  Direction Nos. 4 to 9 and 11 contained in the order dated September 12, 2017 shall continue to operate and are reiterated again.

(xiii)  Extensive public awareness campaigns shall be taken up by the Central Government/State Governments/Schools/ Colleges informing the public about the harmful effects of firecrackers.

(xiv)  On Diwali days or on any other festivals like Gurpurab etc., when such fireworks generally take place, it 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.

(xv)  The Union of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and the State Governments of the NCR would permit community firecracking only (for Diwali and other festivals etc. as mentioned above), wherever it can be done. For this purpose, particular area/fields would be pre-identified and predesignated by the concerned authorities. This exercise shall be completed within a period of one week from today so that the public at large is informed about the designated places one week before Diwali. The areas designated now for the purpose of Diwali shall be valid for community firecracking on other occasions/festivals as well, as mentioned above. Even for marriages and other occasions, sale of improved crackers and green crackers is only permitted. Insofar as other States are concerned, an endeavour shall be made by them also to explore the feasibility of community firecracking. However, it is made clear that Direction No. (xiv) pertaining to the duration within which fireworks can take place on all such occasions would be applicable throughout India.

(xvi)  Central and State Governments, and particularly the Police, shall ensure that fireworks take place only during the designated time and at designated places, as mentioned above. They shall also ensure that there is no sale of banned firecrackers. In case any violation is found, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned Police Station of the area shall be held personally liable for such violation and this would amount to committing contempt of the Court, for which such SHO(s) would be proceeded against.

(xvii)  CPCB and respective State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs/PCCs) of the States and Union Territories shall carry out short-term monitoring in their cities for 14 days (commencing from 7 days prior to Diwali and ending 7 days after Diwali) for the parameters namely, Aluminum, Barium, Iron apart from the regulatory parameters against the short-term Ambient Air Quality Criteria Values (AAQCVs) proposed by CPCB with regard to bursting of firecrackers. This will help in generation of data on pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers and would be helpful for regulation and control quantity of Aluminum, Barium and Iron used in the manufacture of firecrackers.

Copy of Judgement: Judgement 23-Oct-2018

-Tushar Kaushik

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