The Supreme Court has requested a response from the Delhi Police concerning a plea filed by firecracker manufacturers who seek permission to produce green firecrackers. This request follows the court’s ban on the sale and production of regular firecrackers in Delhi-NCR in 2018, and it questions how firecrackers are still available in the national capital despite the strict ban.

The Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA), representing 180 fireworks manufacturers, submitted the application, seeking court approval to proceed with the production of green crackers as suggested by the Centre. These manufacturers claim that the entire industry has come to a standstill due to the ban, even as toxic firecrackers labeled as “green” continue to flood the markets.

Green crackers are produced using less harmful raw materials in accordance with guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.

The bench of justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh expressed concern and stated, “Our concern is, even after the ban, how is it happening… We would like to hear from the Delhi Police regarding the situation in Delhi.” The bench instructed the Centre to provide a response within a day. The Delhi Police is responsible for licensing the sale of crackers in Delhi.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, informed the court that an effective mechanism is in place to ensure that only licensed companies under the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation manufacture green crackers. Bhati requested the court to approve this mechanism and bring finality to the matter. “What we have is a stringent protocol. There are quality controls and checks right at the beginning of the manufacture of the green cracker formulation. If the court is satisfied, the court may approve the mechanism so that there is a final resolution in this matter,” Bhati said.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to outline the regulatory mechanism to ensure quality control of green firecrackers after the government sought the court’s approval for its “new and improved” formulation of crackers.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the petitioners, argued in court that while the Centre is seeking closure on this matter, evidence on the ground suggests that the court’s ban is being openly violated. “For four years, there has been a ban, yet after the Diwali festival every year, we wake up to grey skies. What steps have been taken by the Delhi Police?” Sankaranarayanan questioned.

Meanwhile, the court also heard a separate petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament Manoj Tiwari, who objected to the ban imposed by the Delhi government on the use and sale of all types of firecrackers in the national capital.

The bench, while dismissing the petition, stated, “Where there is a ban, there is a ban. You can go to a state where there is no ban. We are not going to change our orders.”

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