Ahead of the festivities that Diwali brings, Supreme Court set aside Calcutta HC’s order on blanket ban of firecrackers in West Bengal. The special bench of Justice s A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi remark read, “There cannot be complete ban on firecrackers. Strengthen mechanism to supervise and implement,” as quoted by Bar and Bench. The Supreme Court further ruled that green crackers which are made by materials that cause less pollution, can be used during the festive season.
Earlier, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court ordered a complete ban on firecrackers up to December 31, 2021.
The High Court did not only ban the usage of the firecrackers, but also the sale of firecrackers, including green category firecrackers. The move had polarizing reactions, while some welcomed it and others brought into light the adverse effects several industries that rely on firecracker production may face.
The usage of firecrackers may sound a trivial subject to most, but lately, it has picked up the heat and has set a flame of divisive opinions on social media. While some bring to attention the pollution and noise firecrackers create, others bring to notice the significance of firecrackers in Hindu culture.
Meanwhile, states such as Odisha and Delhi have already imposed a ban on the usage of firecrackers, including ‘green’ category ones. In Delhi the ban came as a crucial deterrent on air pollution and the ban will stay imposed till January 1.
However, in West Bengal, the sale and usage of ‘green’ firecrackers have been given a green light by the Supreme Court.
The Facts of the Matter
After Calcutta High Court’s division bench imposed a blanket ban on the sale and usage of firecrackers, the Supreme Court intervened on November 1. The apex court said that only green-crackers can be used in the upcoming festive season. The bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi ruled, “There cannot be a complete ban of firecrackers. Strengthen the mechanism to stop misuse.”
“Ensure Appropriate Mechanism in Place”: SC Tells WB Govt
Reportedly, the bench also directed the West Bengal government to ensure a mechanism in place where banned firecrackers and other related materials don’t get imported into the state. On November 1, the judges were hearing pleas of several firecracker manufacturers. The manufacturers were against the prior order of Calcutta High Court which issued a blanket ban on firecrackers.
What Did the Lawyers Argue?
During the hearing, lawyer Siddharth Bhatnagar appeared for the firecracker manufacturers and claimed that despite orders of Supreme Court and NGT (National Green Tribunal) on green crackers, the Calcutta has imposed the ban.
He further gave reference to Supreme Court orders which say that if a state’s air quality is moderate, green crackers can be permitted. Another advocate who appeared for appealant named Malvika Trivedi had a similar argument in the court.
What did the Calcutta HC Order Earlier?
Earlier, the division bench comprising of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Justice Anirudha Roy ordered a blanket ban on the usage and/or sale of all kinds of fireworks (including green firecrackers that ensure less polluting materials are used in West Bengal.
On October 29, the Calcutta High Court ruled, “The State should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during the oncoming Kali Puja, Diwali celebration as well as the following Chatt Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s Birthday and/or Christmas/New Year’s Eve this year. For such purpose, only wax or oil-based diyas might be used.”