The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal government to ensure that only green firecrackers are used in the state, reported Live Law.
The High Court made the remarks while disposing of a plea seeking implementation of the Supreme Court’s order on firecrackers.
A bench of Justices Rajasekhar Mantha and Kesang Doma Bhutia observed that the West Bengal government has “substantially complied” with the Supreme Court’s order.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had set aside an order of the Calcutta High Court that had imposed a total ban on firecrackers in West Bengal. This included Supreme Court-approved green firecrackers and the ban in the state was imposed till December 31.
The petition before the High Court to ban firecrackers was moved by environmental activist Roshni Ali. The Supreme Court, in its order on Monday, had allowed Ali to approach the High Court for further directions on the matter after it allowed the use of green firecrackers during festivals.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the High Court noted that that the West Bengal Pollution Control Board has specified timings for the use of firecrackers during festivals. It also said that the state has issued directions for the use and manufacture of only green firecrackers as per the Supreme Court’s order.
“Importance of a clean environment and clean air cannot be overstated,” the High Court said.
Advocate Rachit Lakhmani, representing the petitioner, urged the High Court to provide directions for marking zones, away from hospitals and residential zones, to burst the green firecrackers. Lakhmani told the bench that the state government or the pollution control board have not specified any such demarcated zones.
The petitioner also sought directions to ensure that firecrackers are not burst on the street and that there are no communitywide bursting of crackers.
The High Court also pointed out that that there is only one day left before Diwali.
“You are coming one day before the festival, in most parts of the country the festival has already started,” Justice Mantha said. “Are you expecting the state to comply with directions in less than 24 hours?”
Advocate General SN Mookherjee, representing the West Bengal government, said that the administration was aware of health hazards and would ensure that only green firecrackers are used.
Advocate Srijib Chakraborty, representing an association of firecracker manufacturers, alleged that Ali has filed the plea to gain publicity.
“The petitioner is using social media, giving interviews where she is criticising the Supreme Court order...this is absolutely deplorable,” he told the High Court.
Justice Mantha then said: “I am not getting into allegations about publicity.”
The judge said it was important to strike a balance between the interests of citizens and the firecracker manufacturers.
The High Court also took note of Chakraborty’s undertaking that his clients would sell only green firecrackers.