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PIL in HC on temporary firecracker licence rules

Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the government’s response on a PIL alleging lack of uniformity in the grant of temporary licences for sale of firecrackers from shops and tin sheds during Diwali.

A Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal refused to pass an interim order on the petition challenging a provision in the Explosive Rules, 2008 that says tin sheds selling firecrackers cannot be set up within a 50 meter radius of any ‘protected work’, including markets, houses and schools.

The petitioner, who wants permission to sell firecrackers from a temporary shed at INA Market here, has contended that the ‘50 meter requirement’ should be applicable to the shops within the marketplace also.

The petition, filed through advocate R K Kapoor, has said that the purpose of the rule was to ensure accessibility to temporary stalls in case of a fire and also to protect the surrounding area in such a situation. Why is this rule not applied while granting temporary licence to sell firecrackers to shops within a market where accessibility is limited, the PIL has asked.

In the instant case, the temporary stalls that petitioner Ashish Gulati intended to set up were outside the INA Market and easily accessible by a six-meter wide road, it claimed.

The plea says that in the past 10-15 years they have been granted the temporary licences as well as no objection certificates from the fire department. 

However, this year, it has not yet been granted any licence to sell crackers during Diwali.

“There should be uniformity in the matter of grant of temporary licenses for selling of fireworks for the tin sheds as well as shops for the Deepawali festival because otherwise it would lead to the discrimination between similarly situated persons and there is no reasonable justification in creating such a discrimination,” the petition has said.

The court will hear the matter on December 21. 
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