Mumbai: With hardly a fortnight left for the Diwali festival, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government and all the Municipal Corporations across the state to take ‘strict action’ against shopkeepers ‘storing and selling’ firecrackers in residential areas.
The direction came from a division bench presided over by Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Swapna Joshi. They were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), raising concerns over the violation of the Explosives Substance Act by shopkeepers, who store and sell crackers in residential areas.
While recalling the ‘Make in India’ mishap and the Kollam fire tragedy in Kerala, the division bench said, “It is a sorry state of affairs that in India, we wait till an incident takes place and become active after mishaps. We must learn from our mistakes.”
The judges further said, “Ideally, shops which store firecrackers must not be located in or near residential areas, rather an open space must be provided for them to carry on their business. This will also make regulation and maintenance of the business easier for the government.”
While maintaining that every business person had the right to carry out his/her business, the court said the same must be done within the framework of law.
“There is nothing wrong in business people taking advantage of this demand (for crackers) and also supplying the same. However, they should be concerned about the safety provisions under the law,” the bench added.
Accordingly, the bench said, “We direct the Corporations (across the State), the State government and the Home Department to ensure strict action is taken against shops not adhering to the rules under the Explosive Substances Act.”
The bench has directed the authorities to file a compliance report by October 25, as it wanted them to make at least some arrangements before the Diwali festival, which is falling on October 30.