National Green Tribunal Urges Compliance with Firecracker Regulations

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The NGT in Bhopal noted that despite earlier directions, banned firecrackers were still being sold and sometimes passed off as green crackers

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Bhopal has emphasized strict compliance with the Supreme Court's directions and the principal bench of the tribunal regarding the regulation and restrictions on the use of firecrackers. The NGT emphasized that celebrations should not infringe upon the fundamental right to health under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The tribunal clarified that there is no "total ban" on the use of firecrackers. However, the bench comprising Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and Expert Member, Dr. Afroz Ahmad observed that only firecrackers found injurious to the health of citizens, particularly children and the elderly, have been banned. The NGT warned authorities not to permit the use of any banned firecrackers under the guise of celebrations.

In 2018, the Supreme Court banned certain categories of firecrackers and directed the regulation of the remaining types. The top court also specified time slots during which firecrackers could be used during Diwali and other festivals. In 2021, the Supreme Court issued directions to take action against those selling banned firecrackers.

The NGT's principal bench had previously directed a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during Diwali in areas with "poor," "very poor," or "severe" air quality. It restricted the use of firecrackers to green crackers in areas with "moderate" or better air quality, limiting their use to two hours during festivals.

The NGT in Bhopal noted that despite these directions, banned firecrackers were still being sold and sometimes passed off as green crackers. The tribunal expressed concern about the blatant violation of earlier directions.

The NGT stressed the duty of state governments to ensure the strict compliance of directions issued by the Supreme Court, NGT, and the government. It warned that any lapses by state governments and Union Territories would be taken seriously.

The NGT held that if banned firecrackers were found to be manufactured, sold, or used in any area, the responsible government officials would be held personally liable. It also directed district magistrates to monitor air quality and take necessary actions to maintain suitable air quality in cities.

Case Title: Dr PG Najpande & Ors v State of MP & Ors