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‘Can’t infringe right to life for employment’: SC on firecrackers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday emphasized that it needs to strike a proper balance between the right to life and the right to livelihood, adding that it could not interfere with the right to life of other citizens ‘while employment is available for some’.

While dealing with the issue of ban on firecrackers, a bench led by Justice MR Shah said it is important to strike a balance between employment, unemployment, and the right to life of citizens. It is unacceptable to permit others to infringe on the rights of other citizens simply because they are employed by some.

It also noted that the right to life of innocent citizens is their primary concern. According to the bench, if we find green crackers in the country and they are accepted by the committee of experts, we will pass appropriate orders. However, the main problem in our country is implementation. The laws are in place, but the implementation is the key. The order should be implemented in the true spirit of the law.

The court earlier refused to impose a complete ban on the sale of firecrackers and only allowed licensed traders to sell the fireworks. The sale of firecrackers online has been prohibited. On behalf of the firecrackers manufacturers’ association, Atmaram Nadkarni stated that in view of Diwali on November 4, they want the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) to decide what to do about the issue. In his view, the government should take action since lakhs of people are unemployed in this field. Contempt should be heard and taken to its logical conclusion, but the plight of the millions of firecracker workers should be considered as well, he said. The petitioner’s lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan informed the court that PESO would grant final approval to firecrackers that are safe on behalf of Arjun Gopal.

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According to Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who represents the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the ministry submitted an affidavit in October 2020, and if the Bench considers it, all interim applications will be covered. On the issue of green crackers, experts have proposed formulations, she said.

On Wednesday, the court will hear Sankaranarayanan’s separate compilation of orders. The Bench said every day there was a failure to follow orders, and they could observe it in every religious ceremony, victory procession, and wedding. ‘We will have to fix liability on someone, else this will not stop at all,’ it said.


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