NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the CBI to probe the allegations that Tamil Nadu-based firecracker manufacturers have been using 'Barium Nitrate' in production of 'green crackers' despite its order banning the harmful chemical.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said it had specifically banned the use of barium nitrate in the production of green crackers and the violation needed to be probed.
It also directed six manufacturers from Shivakasi in Tamil Nadu to show cause as to why they should not have proceeded for contempt of court.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for three children, alleged that the manufacturers have been violating the court's order prohibiting the use of the chemical. The bench asked the CBI to submit a report and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.
The apex court had earlier asked the Centre to file a response to the objections raised against the use of chemical components like barium nitrate and potassium nitrate in the formulation of 'green crackers'.
The court had in October 2018 explained that only green crackers without barium salt would be allowed to be manufactured in the country.
The court had said it wanted every consignment of the material used in manufacturing green firecrackers to be tested for quality control as the issue pertains to public health.
Taking note of the status report prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), it had directed that a quality control mechanism be set up in each manufacturing unit of green firecrackers and such units be monitored by officials from the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO).
It had also asked Sankarnarayanan, appearing for the PIL petitioners, to file a contempt plea when he alleged that despite the apex court's order, tonnes of fire-crackers were blown up in Delhi and NCR.
Earlier, the apex court had directed the Centre to approve the composition of green crackers after it is formulated by PESO, a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, so as to enable their manufacturing.
It had allowed the firecracker manufacturers to apply for approvals from the concerned authorities after PESO approves the new formulation of fireworks.
The top court had said that after PESO finalises the new formulation of fireworks, an approval of Union of India should also be taken so that manufacturing can start.
Prior to this, the apex court had banned the manufacture, sale and use of joined firecrackers (series crackers or 'laris') saying that they cause "huge air, noise and solid waste problems".
It had said the noise and smoke emission limits of the crackers will have to be approved by PESO.
To curb pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the court had directed the Centre, the Delhi government and state governments of NCR to permit community-bursting of fire-crackers for Diwali and other festivals, wherever it could be done.