Court directed the West Bengal government to strengthen the checking of firecrackers coming from other states at the state’s entry point
New DelhI: Saying that there can be no blanket ban on firecrackers, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside a Calcutta high court order banning the sale, purchase or bursting of firecrackers during the festivities starting with Diwali, Kali Puja and Chhath Puja, holding that there have be cogent and different reasons for the high court to depart from the consistent stand of the highest court running through its different orders over the years that there can be no blanket ban on the sale, purchase and bursting of firecrackers during festivals.
Setting aside the October 29 order of the Calcutta high court banning the sale, purchase and bursting of firecrackers, a vacation bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi directed the West Bengal government to strengthen the checking of firecrackers coming from other states at the state’s entry point, including at retail outlets.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s earlier judgments, particularly the directions issued on October 29, 2021, the vacation bench said: “There cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers. Strengthen the mechanism to supervise and implement the restrictions.”
In the course of the hearing, Justice Rastogi, in a poser, asked when the top court was seized of the matter, why High Courts were entertaining pleas on the same issue.
The top court by its 2018 order, banning the use of barium salts in the firecrackers and joined firecrackers, had permitted only green crackers. As of now, only four types of firecrackers have been certified as green crackers by the PESO.
The court also noted the West Bengal government’s submission that the high court passed orders on the “practical difficulties” that the “administration and the police face in enforcing restrictions permitting the ban and sale of green crackers only ‘out of the blue’ without any deliberation on this aspect in the course of the hearing”.
The high court had said the state government did not have a mechanism to distinguish the green crackers from the banned ones.