Probe shows use of toxic material in firecrackers: Supreme Court

Why shouldn’t contempt action be taken against makers, asks the court.

Updated - September 30, 2021 12:19 pm IST

Published - September 29, 2021 06:02 pm IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into the firecracker industry, including in Tamil Nadu, revealed rampant violation of its ban on use of toxic ingredients like Barium and its salts.

In an order in March 2020, the court ordered the CBI Joint Director in Chennai to conduct a “detailed” probe . The CBI was directed to examine the allegations of violation of the court ban in 2018.


The CBI had filed a report in a sealed cover in the court.

A Bench led by Justice M.R. Shah, referring to the contents of the report, observed that a chemical analysis of the samples of finished and semi-finished firecrackers and raw materials taken from the manufacturers showed Barium content.

The court stated that loose quantities of Barium were purchased from the market. Firecracker covers did not show the manufacture or expiry dates.

The court discussed why the manufacturers should not be asked to show cause why contempt action should not be taken against them.

‘Celebration everyday’

“Everyday there is a celebration, but you should also be mindful of the people living around you... People who have asthma,” Justice Shah remarked.

The court posted the case for further hearing on October 6.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court prima facie brushed aside the manufacturers’ contention that thousands of employees earned their livelihood in the industry.

Justice Shah retorted that “we have to balance between employment, unemployment and the right to life and health of citizens. We cannot sacrifice the lives of many for a few. Our prime focus is the right to life of innocent people.”

The case gained significance with the onset of the wedding season and festivals like Dussehra and Deepawali. “Everyday, there is a violation in this regard... in religious processions, political rallies,” Justice Shah, accompanied by Justice A.S. Bopanna on the Bench, pointed out.

He noted that the court had to fix liability on the authorities in charge. “Sometimes we have to fix liability. If the police commissioner is sedate about liability, only then all this will happen.”

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