Calcutta HC orders complete ban on sale & use of firecrackers

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered a blanket ban on the sale and use of firecrackers this year during Diwali, Kali Puja, Chhath Puja, Christmas or New Years due to the prevailing Covid situation.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya and Aniruddha Roy directed the police to initiate legal action against anyone found violating the ban after having confiscated the crackers.

The Bench passed the order on a petition seeking re-imposition of the ban on firecrackers, as was ordered by the court in 2020.

This order, thus, nullifies a recent notification by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board that allowed the use of "green" firecrackers for a limited period of time on Diwali and Kali Puja.

The order, dated October 26, had also noted that the "air quality in Kolkata and districts were at moderate/ satisfactory levels till the third week of October".

Meanwhile, the police conducted raids in different places on Friday and seized 65 kg of banned firecrackers. A vehicle, loaded with banned firecrackers weighing about 160 kg, was intercepted at Strand Road. Driver Joy Sardar (28) and his associate Somnath Ray( 18) have been arrested.

Prior to this, the Supreme Court on Thursday dispelled the impression that it was against a particular group or community by banning firecrackers and said it cannot allow violation of rights of citizens under the guise of enjoyment. A Bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna made it clear that it wants full implementation of its orders to send a message that it is here to protect the rights of people and can even pass an order for CBI investigation concerning those manufacturers who are selling fake green crackers.

"Under the guise of enjoyment, you (manufacturers) cannot play with the lives of citizens. We are not against a particular community. We want to send a strong message that we are here for the protection of fundamental rights of citizens," the Bench said.

The Apex Court said the earlier ban order on firecrackers was passed after giving elaborate reasons.

"All firecrackers were not banned. It was in the larger public interest. There is a particular impression being created. It should not be projected that it was banned for a particular purpose. Last time we said that we weren't coming in the way of enjoyment but we cannot come in the way of fundamental rights of people," it maintained.

The top court had earlier said that under the guise of green crackers, banned articles are being used by firecracker manufacturers and reiterated that its earlier order banning joint crackers must be complied by every state.

The Bench had added that it is not averse to the celebration but not at the cost of the life of other citizens.

The top court said celebration does not mean the use of loud crackers and it can also be from 'Fuljhaddi' etc which are not noisy. It had ordered six manufacturers to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of its orders.

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