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Kerala HC allows fireworks display in Pooram festival

Kerala HC allows fireworks display in Pooram festival
The Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed low-decibel fireworks display in the night during the ongoing Pooram festival in Thrissur, exempting it from the ban imposed in the wake of Kollam Puttingal temple tragedy on Sunday that claimed 113 lives.

No unauthorised chemicals should be used in the fireworks and the sound level should not exceed 125 decibel, a division bench comprising Justices Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman said in the order.

The bench was hearing a plea by the private Paramekkavu and Thirvambadi Devaswoms, which fund the annual Pooram festival in the premises of the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, for permission to hold fireworks display. The festival is currently on and will culminate on Apr 18.

While sustained exposure to decibel level below 125 may result in hearing loss, after 125 it may cause pain. 

The High Court on Tuesday banned high-decibel fireworks after sunset in places of worship across Kerala after the Puttingal tragedy.

The High Court held a special sitting today despite a public holiday on account of harvest festival “Vishu” that marks the commencement of the Malayalam new year.

The division bench’s order came after the organising committee of the Pooram festival cited a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that gave exemption to holding of fireworks display as part of its culture and traditions. 

The high court said the public must be kept away at a safe distance from the fireworks display site by erecting barricades.

Elephants paraded for the festival should also be kept at sufficient distance away from the display site.

The court also ordered that no elephant found unfit should be used for the Pooram procession.

Placing the government’s stand, state Advocate General K P Dandapani said it wanted that the age old celebrations, rituals and the fireworks to be permitted and performed as was done in the previous years for Thrissur Pooram.
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