Supreme Court says ‘we can’t ban crackers and let people go hungry’ 

Arunima Bajaj  Wednesday 13th of March 2019 10:46 AM
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A woman working at a firecracker factory in West Bengal.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, said it could not deprive lakhs of families, dependent on manufacturing firecrackers, of their livelihood. It observed that the court “can’t let people go hungry” and “generate unemployment”.

A bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice S Abdul Nazeer said the authorities “need to know whether there was any comparative study on what proportion of pollution is caused by automobiles. It seems you are just running after firecrackers, but bigger pollution contributor is perhaps vehicles.”

Justice Bobde, heading the bench, made an observation during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation seeking a blanket ban on the bursting of firecrackers on the ground that they caused pollution and said, “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.”

The apex court had banned the use of polluting firecrackers to curb rising environment pollution and restricted their use in October 2018. Following the ban, the cracker industry moved the apex court pleading that the directive had deprived families of their livelihood in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi district, a cracker hub.

The PIL (public-interest litigation) had been filed by two minors — sons of Supreme Court advocates. Justice Bobde, while agreeing with the submission, said, “Legal trade cannot be banned. At best licence conditions need to be changed. We can’t let people go hungry because some others think firecrackers are not good. Moreover, there are areas where crackers could be used without causing much damage. For example there can be community fireworks-bursting.”

The court adjourned the matter to April 3.




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