New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said there cannot be anything more important than preservation of life amid the pandemic, as it declined to interfere with the Calcutta High Court order, banning sale and use of firecrackers in West Bengal during Kali Puja, Diwali and other festivals.
A vacation bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said it is conscious about the importance of festivals, but amid the pandemic, everybody should come out to support a decision which improves the situation. They said the High Court is much aware of the local situation and it should be allowed to do what is necessary.
The observations from the top court came while hearing an appeal by Gautam Roy and the Burrabazaar Fireworks Dealers Association, against the High Court order, which banned use and sale of firecrackers in the upcoming festivals, including Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja, as a measure to address air pollution.
The top court said life itself is in danger now and people should come together to deal with the problem.
The court told counsel for the petitioner that Covid-19 has affected people in hospitals, elderly people etc. “Can anyone step out of the house in Kolkata, Delhi or any other part of the city today?” it asked.
Senior advocate Siddharth Bhatnagar, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted that the High Court had no empirical data to arrive at the conclusion to impose a cracker ban.
However, the bench said that “life itself has been imperiled now”.
The top court in its order said: “We are not inclined to entertain the Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution. The Special Leave Petition is accordingly dismissed.”
The High Court had directed that the firecracker ban would also be in force during the Jagaddhatri Puja, Chhath and Guru Nanak’s birthday celebrations.
“For this purpose, only wax or oil-based diyas would have to suffice, for the greater good of the citizens and in the larger public interest,” the High Court had observed.