Diwali firecrackers
Diwali firecrackers

Mumbai: With hardly five days left for Diwali, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed all civic bodies across Maharashtra to take stern action against shopkeepers selling firecrackers in residential areas.

The direction came from a division bench of justices Vidyasagar Kanade and Swapna Joshi while 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.

The bench’s direction is expected to affect the business of thousands of shopkeepers as it has directed the municipalities to impose hefty fines on violators.

As per section 86 of the Explosive Substance Act,  shops licensed for storage and sale of small arms, crackers or safety fuse shall be at a distance of minimum 15 metres from any such premises (residential premises).

On Tuesday when the matter came up for hearing, the bench said, “We expect you (Corporations) to conduct thorough inspections in your jurisdiction and find if there is any violation. You should do a Ward-wise inspection and nab the violators and impose heavy fines on them.”

Subsequently, the bench also observed, “Every individual or community has the right to practise their religion and also to celebrate their festivals but at the same time they cannot harm others while celebrating festivals.”

The bench had earlier directed the police as well as civic bodies to take stern action against violators.

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