The Supreme Court recently addressed a petition that urged the Rajasthan government to adhere to the court’s orders prohibiting the use of firecrackers containing barium salts and other harmful chemicals. In a significant clarification to combat pollution, the Supreme Court emphasized that its 2021 ruling permitting only green firecrackers is applicable not only in Delhi-NCR but throughout the country.
During the proceedings, the bench pointed out that children these days don’t burst fireworks; it’s the adults who do it. They also stressed that safeguarding the environment is everyone’s responsibility.
Supreme Court Bans Firecrackers
In response to the plea seeking directions for the Rajasthan government to abide by the court’s orders on banning polluting firecrackers and reducing air and noise pollution during festivals, a bench consisting of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh stated that there was no need for new directives. They emphasized that Supreme Court orders are binding nationwide and urged Rajasthan to take heed of their previous instructions on this matter.
In 2021, the Supreme Court had stated that while there isn’t a complete ban on firecrackers, those containing Barium salts are prohibited. The court had noticed that this rule was being openly violated and cautioned that top officials at various levels would be held personally responsible for any violations.
In 2018, the court had also specified time slots for bursting firecrackers. It allowed them to be used between 8 pm and 10 pm on Diwali and between 11:55 pm and 12:30 am for New Year and Christmas celebrations.
Do All Steps
During the hearing on Tuesday, the bench mentioned, “At this point, no specific order is required, as this court has issued numerous directives outlining measures to reduce both air and noise pollution. These directives are applicable to every state in the country, including Rajasthan.”
“We want to emphasize that the state of Rajasthan should be attentive to these directives and take necessary actions to decrease air and noise pollution, not just during festivals but also in the aftermath,” they added.
The petitioner’s lawyer informed the court that there is a rise in noise and air pollution in Rajasthan during the festive season and also requested guidance for the Udaipur administration due to the weddings held there.
The lawyer representing Rajasthan stated, “Every citizen should make an effort to reduce their use of firecrackers during Diwali,” he mentioned.
The bench pointed out that nowadays, it’s the adults, not the children, who are setting off fireworks.
The court also highlighted that there is a common perception that it’s solely the court’s responsibility to tackle pollution and safeguard the environment. “It’s not. It’s everyone’s responsibility,” emphasized the bench.
Earlier in the day, during a hearing about pollution in Delhi, where the Air Quality Index exceeded 400, the Supreme Court emphasized that this issue shouldn’t turn into a political dispute. They stressed that the poor air quality is harming people’s health.