The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned why there were calls to ban firecrackers when the pollution caused by automobiles was far greater than that produced by firecrackers. The court asked the Centre whether there was any comparative study on the pollution caused by firecrackers and vehicles, PTI reported.
The top court was hearing a plea that sought a complete ban on the use of firecrackers across India, claiming it adds to the rising pollution. “People are gunning for firecrackers, but the bigger pollutant is vehicles,” Justice SA Bobde said, according to The Hindu. “Had the normal pollution level been low, then we could have managed better.”
However, the bench said that banning firecrackers can kill jobs of people working in the firecracker industry. “We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecrackers manufacturing units... We do not want to generate unemployment,” the judges said.
Bobde is part of the bench that is hearing the matter for the first time. The case was previously heard by another bench led by Justice AK Sikri, who retired earlier this month.
Reiterating that putting curbs on firecrackers can affect the legal and licensed occupation, the Supreme Court said the court does not “wish to generate unemployment”. “We can’t let people go hungry because some others think firecrackers is not good,” the bench said, according to the Hindustan Times. “Moreover, there are areas where crackers could be used without causing much damage, such as community fireworks.”
In October 2018, ahead of Diwali, the Supreme Court had banned the manufacture, sale and use of firecrackers, allowing the use of only “green crackers”. During a hearing last month, the Court questioned the Centre over the non-existence of the “green crackers”.
An association of firecracker manufacturers had told the court in February that the delay was affecting the industry and its workers. The ban has reportedly hit the livelihood of four lakh workers and resulted in the closure of 974 manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi alone.