Supreme Court asks firecracker makers why they stock barium despite ban

SC says it may even order seizure of the chemicals from the manufacturers

October 06, 2021 01:55 pm | Updated October 07, 2021 07:38 am IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday wondered why firecracker manufacturers continue to stock huge quantities of toxic barium chemicals even after the court has banned its use in crackers.

“Have you seen the reply by manufacturers? What they say is very surprising. They say that the huge quantity of barium purchased was to be kept in the godown. It was not for manufacture. Why have they kept them in the godown?” a Bench led by Justice M.R. Shah asked the petitioners in the case.

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The court remarked that it may even order the seizure of the chemicals from the manufacturers.

The court is hearing a plea by petitioners, including a student based in Delhi, Arjun Gopal, about the continued violation of the 2018 Supreme Court ban on the use of barium and other toxic chemicals in firecrackers.

The court said “noisy” celebrations are replete with joint crackers even though it was banned.

CBI enquiry

On September 29, the court had referred to a preliminary enquiry submitted by the CBI into the firecracker industry, including in Tamil Nadu, which revealed rampant violation of the apex court ban on the use of toxic ingredients in the products. The court had ordered the Joint Director of the CBI, in Chennai, to conduct a “detailed” probe in an order in March 2020..

The agency had filed a report in a sealed cover in the court. The court said the agency report had shown that chemical analysis on samples of finished and semi-finished firecrackers and raw materials revealed barium content. The court had said that loose quantities of barium were purchased from the market.

“We cannot celebrate at the cost of the lives of others,” the court said. It scheduled the next hearing on October 26.

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