High Court criticises “indifference” of fireworks manufacturers

Strongly criticising the “indifference” of fireworks manufacturers in the State despite several accidents, the Madras High Court on Friday dismissed their petition against a circular of the Chief Controller of Explosives, Nagpur, calling upon them to adhere to certain safety measures.

Justice K.K.Sasidharan observed the circular was essentially not an issue between manufacturers and the Explosives department. It was in larger public interest that the department had issued the circular dated November 23, 2012.

The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association, represented by its president, S.S.Vijayakumar, Sivakasi, challenged the circular, arguing that the department had no authority to issue such a communication without the statutory support.

Dismissing the petition, Mr.Justice Sasidharan said the factual matrix indicated that there was a major fire at Om Sakthi Fireworks Industries, resulting in the death of 40 persons and injuries to 51, which included locals. The department enquiries revealed that factory workers had worked in gross violation of safety norms. The fire had started in the factory’s interior portion and gradually spread to a far off location in the southeast where a transit shed was located. Having found that the manufacturers constructed multiple sheds without providing smooth pathway, interconnecting the manufacturing sheds, the department wanted to avoid such major accidents in future. Hence, it issued several guidelines.

The Judge said when it was open to the licensing authority to impose certain conditions at the time of renewal of licence, the petitioner could not be heard to say that such conditions could not be incorporated through a circular during the currency of licence.

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