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Can’t infringe right to life of others under guise of employment — SC on firecrackers

The apex court said its prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens and a balance needs to be struck between employment, unemployment and the right to life of citizens.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday said it cannot infringe the right to life of other citizens under the guise of employment while considering ban on firecrackers

A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said its prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens.

“We have to strike the balance between employment, unemployment and the right to life of the citizen. Under the guise of employment of few we cannot permit others to infringe the right to life of other citizens.

“Our prime focus is the right to life of innocent citizens. If we find green crackers are there and accepted by the committee of experts we will pass suitable orders,” the bench said, adding that in our country, the main difficulty is implementation.

“Laws are there but ultimately implementation has to be there. Our order should be implemented in true spirit,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for manufacturers’ association of firecrackers, said that Diwali is approaching on November 4 and they want Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) to take a decision.

He said the government should decide the matter as lakhs of people are unemployed.

The senior advocate said contempt must be heard and taken to a logical end but the plight of lakhs of people who are working in the industry should also be looked into.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioner Arjun Gopal, said series of orders have been passed by the top court and directions have been given that PESO will give final clearance to firecrackers which are safer.

When Nadkarni interrupted Sankaranarayanan, the bench in a lighter vein said, “We don’t want any bursting of crackers in the courtroom. Everybody will get a chance. Also, I’m afraid of firecrackers.”

Sankaranarayanan said, “My Lord, we assure there’ll be no fire in the court, only work.”

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, said an affidavit was filed by the ministry in October 2020 and if the top court takes note of it all the interim applications will be covered in that. All the experts have come together and suggested formulations on the issue of green crackers.

The bench said it will take up the matter at 2 pm.

The apex court had earlier refused to impose complete ban on sale of firecrackers and said that sale can happen through only licensed traders and that only green crackers can be sold. Online sale of firecrackers has been completely banned.

The verdict had come in response to a plea seeking a ban on manufacturing and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution.

In the past, the apex court had said that while deciding on a ban on firecrackers, it is imperative to take into account the fundamental right of livelihood of firecracker manufacturers and the right to health of over 1.3 billion people of the country.

Also read: Delhi govt orders complete ban on storage, sale & use of firecrackers during Diwali


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