The Supreme Court on Monday set aside an order of the Calcutta High Court that had imposed a total ban on firecrackers in West Bengal, Live Law reported.

On October 29, the Calcutta High Court had banned the use and sale of all kinds of firecrackers – including Supreme Court approved green crackers – during Diwali and Kali Puja festivities. The ban was to remain in place till December 31.

On the same day, the Supreme Court had observed that there was no total ban on use of firecrackers but only fireworks with barium salts were prohibited. Fireworks with barium compounds produce more smoke when they burn. They essentially burn in bright green or white colours.

During Monday’s hearing, a bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi observed that the High Court should have asked parties to explain their stand before “passing such an extreme order”.

A public interest litigation had been filed before the High Court by environmental activist Roshni Ali, who sought a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during the upcoming festivities to secure people’s right to “clean and healthy air” particularly in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. A group of firecracker traders had challenged the High Court verdict.

“There cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers,” the Supreme Court orally observed. “Strengthen the mechanism to stop misuse.”

The court also said that its order applies to all states and West Bengal cannot be an exception. “The Supreme Court has already passed order,” the bench said. “It has to be implemented uniformly.”

Senior lawyer Siddharth Bhatnagar, representing the traders, also said that the Supreme Court did not impose a total ban on firecrackers, but only banned the ones that were injurious to health, according to Bar and Bench.

On the other hand, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan, who was appearing for the petitioners in the case before the High Court, said that manufacturers were selling banned firecrackers by placing labels of green crackers on them.

However, Anand Grover, appearing for the West Bengal government, said that there was a mechanism to verify whether a trader was selling green firecrackers, Bar and Bench reported. He said that seven first information reports have been filed and 10 people have been arrested in Kolkata in 2021 in connection with banned firecrackers.

He added that last year, 190 such FIRs were registered and 243 persons had been arrested.

The judges allowed any party to approach the High Court with adequate material to support their case.

The Supreme Court also asked the West Bengal government to consider strengthening mechanisms to make sure that no banned firecrackers enter the state from outside.

Meanwhile, the blanket ban on use of firecrackers in the national capital will continue, PTI reported, citing an official of the Delhi government. In September, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had banned the sale and bursting of firecrackers in the city up to January 1, 2022.