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19/03/2019 03:16pm

We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecrackers manufacturing units: SC

image We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecrackers manufacturing units: SC

New Delhi, Mar 19 (KNN) The Supreme Court, in a fresh over ban on the manufacture, sale and use of loud and toxic firecrackers, said it cannot kill the jobs of poor people working in the firecracker industry, driving them to starvation.

The apex court made a u-turn from its 2018 October 23 order banning manufacture, sale and use of loud and toxic firecrackers while allowing only green and improved crackers.

"We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecrackers manufacturing units... We do not want to generate unemployment," Justice Bobde Justice S.A. Bobde said last week.

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, Justice Bobde observed.

The court asked how it can possibly feel empowered to put the shutters down on an occupation which is both legal and licensed.

There has been an ambiguity so far over what composes green crackers despite all these months after the October order of the apex court.

The factories, most of which are micro or small industries, have remained shut, including in Sivakasi district in Tamil Nadu, which is the hub for cracker manufacturing.

The October ban was based on petitions filed by a six-month-old and a 14-month-old, through their fathers in 2015. They had said the air pollution caused by various factors, especially firecrackers, has made Delhi a gas chamber. They pleaded for their right to life.

"People are gunning for firecrackers, but the bigger pollutant is vehicles... Had the normal pollution level been low, then we could have managed better," Justice Bobde observed.

This is the first time the case came up before the Bench led by Justice Bobde. The case was previously heard by another Bench led by Justice A.K. Sikri, who retired recently. Justice Bobde is in line to be the next Chief Justice of India.

The Firecracker manufacturers had contended that there was no definite study to show that bursting of crackers made the air quality worse during festivals like Diwali.

The fundamental right to occupation of the cracker industry cannot be put in peril on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations that crackers pollute. The court should wait for a “complete study”.

According to some reports, the revenue generated from the manufacturing and sale of fireworks is to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore per annum. Further, the industry employs five lakh families.

“Such a revenue to the State as well as employment to large number of workers on which five lakh families sustain cannot be put in jeopardy by imposing a total ban. It was emphasised that there is a necessity to adopt a balanced approach,” the cracker manufacturers had argued.

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