This article on ‘The legality of Firecrackers in India’ was written by Shruti Korgaonkar, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Special occasions are incomplete without bursting firecrackers, we cannot point out a particular occasion where the crackers are not in use, nowadays bursting crackers are not restricted to any festival, but to celebrate a win, to convey happiness, or to add on any kind of celebration firecrackers are always in the picture. India’s firecracker industry is regarded as the second largest in the world.
The industry is estimated to be worth Rs.5000crore and provides livelihood to over 10 lakh people. But with the ban on firecrackers in many states with a view of their environmental impact and the Covid-19 pandemic the industry has seen a sudden follow in the market. Let’s dig deep and know the legality of firecrackers in India.
Supreme courts recent verdict
The Supreme Court has also directed the CBI to investigate the usage of barium nitrate in the production of fireworks. As a result, numerous fireworks manufacturers are producing ‘Green Crackers’ using the CSIR-recommended mix. This is because the customary firecrackers used during Diwali have had an impact on the air quality index in numerous places in India.
The Court upheld the ban on dangerous firecrackers while allowing the manufacture and use of low-emission firecrackers known as green firecrackers. These firecrackers produced the same visual effects when exploded, but the pollution they produced was modest due to their chemical composition. This allowed for a balance to be struck between the right of individuals to engage in the business of making firecrackers and the fundamental right to health guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution.
The Delhi government has reinstated a total ban on the manufacture, sale, and use of all sorts of firecrackers till January 1, including on Diwali, as it has done for the past two years. The Supreme Court also denied a request by BJP leader Manoj Tiwari for an urgent hearing on a case challenging Delhi’s blanket ban on firecrackers. A court led by Justice M.R. Shah said that people should be allowed to breathe clean air and that there were other ways to celebrate.
According to the plea, this harassment will not only violate people’s freedom of expression and work (Article 19), as well as their right to life (Article 21) but will also violate their freedom of conscience and free profession, religious practice and propagation among the general public (Article 25). The petition requested that all respondents create new standards for selling, purchasing, and bursting authorised firecrackers.
Duty of the citizens
The Indian government is doing its part to keep pollution levels from rising further. Though the odds are stacked against us, it is up to Indian people like you and me to guarantee that this Diwali is greener and more environmentally friendly than in previous years.
Here are some guidelines to assist us all to be responsible citizens this Diwali:
- Inquire with your firecracker vendor if the crackers they sell are green crackers.
- Inquire if they have a green firecracker license.
- Educate your family on the various health risks and pollution that affect everyone.
- After 10 p.m., do not break the crackers.
- While bursting crackers, be mindful of your surroundings, especially in alleys and gullies.
- Be considerate towards others
Arjun Gopal v Union of India
In this case, it was underlined that as the winters come, the air quality immediately begins to degrade, and with the arrival of festivals and marriages throughout the winter, the pollution is already in a poor state. The court also recognised and evaluated Article 48A of the Indian Constitution, which recognises the obligation of the state to ensure a healthy environment, as well as Article 51A(G) of the Constitution, which demonstrates the duty of citizens to ensure a healthy environment. They also stressed Article 25, which specifies that bursting crackers is not part of religious rites. The government has also attempted to suspend licenses for the sale and manufacture of fireworks.
Statewise restriction on firecrackers
The air quality in the union territory is degrading day by day. Not to contribute more to it six-month jail sentence and a Rs 200 fine should be levied for bursting firecrackers. According to Section 9B of the Explosives Act, the production, storage, and sale of firecrackers in the capital shall be punishable by a fine of up to Rs 5,000 and three years in prison
The state administration has announced a two-hour timeframe for bursting firecrackers during Diwali, October 24. Fireworks will be permitted to be set off in the state for two hours on Diwali, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The manufacturing, stock, distribution, sale, and use of combined firecrackers is hereby prohibited in the state, with only green crackers (those that do not contain barium salts or compounds of antimony, lithium, mercury arsenic, strontium, chromate) permitted for sale, according to the statement.
Only green crackers are permitted in the state this Diwali. Except for green crackers, all types of firecrackers are prohibited from manufacture, sale, or use.
In compliance with a Calcutta High Court judgment, the West Bengal government has issued a notification requesting district magistrates to provide only green fireworks licenses during the upcoming festivals. Green crackers may be exploded from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. during Kali Puja and Diwali, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. during Chhat Puja, and from 11:55 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The sale and purchase of Environment-friendly firecrackers should be encouraged. Fireworks stores should be positioned away from the populous area. Keeping in mind the environment and public health sensitive firecrackers should be discouraged is been instructed by Yogi Adityanath.
A clear action plan from the government is necessary to keep a check on the environment and make sure the people engaged should not suffer because of the change. Burning firecrackers is entertaining, but only for a short time. Environmental damage, pollution, and harm inflicted are permanent. As a result, in the long run, one must look out for the environment and go beyond the little parts of life to focus on the environment’s sustainability. Being a citizen and preservers of our environment, we must ask ourselves, by bursting crackers are we spreading lights in the darkness, or are we widening the door of darkness into our life?
- Nivetha K, “Are Firecrackers Legal In India?”, Vakil Search, 18 August 2022, available at: https://vakilsearch.com/blog/are-fireworks-legal-in-india/
- Richa, “Crackers ban Reality or hoax, Legal Services India”, available at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-7202-cracker-ban-reality-or-hoax.html
- “Diwali 2022: Firecrackers banned in Delhi; restrictions in other states | check guidelines in your city”, Zeebiz, 24 October 2022, available at: https://www.zeebiz.com/india/news-diwali-2022-firecrackers-banned-in-delhi-restrictions-in-other-states-check-guidelines-in-your-city-204523