The Calcutta High Court on Friday imposed a blanket ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers throughout the state of West Bengal for this year during Diwali, Kali Puja, Chhath Puja, Christmas, and even New Year amid the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
The Court also enunciated that only oil and wax-based diyas shall be permitted. The Court has also asked police officials to keep notice of the use and sale of firecrackers in the state.
A Division Bench comprising Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Aniruddha Roy was adjudicating upon a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition moved by environmental activist Roshni Ali seeking a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the upcoming festivities to safeguard people's right to clean, healthy and breathable air, particularly in times of the vicious Covid-19 pandemic.
The court ban also includes the use of 'green (environmentally friendly) crackers', overruling the Supreme Court decision as it will be difficult to identify the difference between the two.
Earlier, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board had allowed people to use green firecrackers for two hours - 8-10 pm on Diwali, two hours on Chhat Puja between 6-8 am and 35 mins on New Year's Eve. However, the Court observed that everyone has the right to live and for the larger interest of the public amidst the Covid pandemic, the ban was imposed.
"Keeping in mind the practical realities, we find that there is no mechanism in place to ascertain whether the crackers being sold/burst is only green crackers in compliance with the norms set in place by the relevant certifying body," the Court noted in the order.
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