Telangana HC directs state govt to ban sale, use of fireworks ahead of Diwali

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Hyderabad, Nov 12 (PTI) The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state government to immediately ban the sale and use of fireworks during the upcoming Diwali festival in view of COVID-19 concerns, observing that lives of people are most important.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice BVijaysenReddy also ordered the state government to immediately clampdown and close the shops which are selling fireworks throughout the state.

The order was passed on a PIL filed by advocate P Indra Prakash seeking a direction for banning sale and use of firecrackers use of firecrackers (fireworks) by the people during Diwali festival across Telangana as had been done in several other states due to prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Much as the festivals may be important and may serve social purpose, nonetheless, the lives of the people are most important. It is the bounden duty of the state to ensure the lives of the people are protected and promoted in a meaningful way, the court observed.

'....considering the fact that the lives of the people need to be protected, considering the fact that uncontrolled and untrammeled use of fireworks may jeopardise the lives of many, this court directs the state to immediately ban the sale and use of fireworks by the people and by organisations, it said in the order.

The petitioner submitted that firecrackers were known to pollute the quality of the air.

Since the winter season was setting in, the pollution created by the fireworks tends to hang in air, thereby jeopardising the lives of many and, especially, of the patients who are suffering from coronavirus, he said.

The petitioner sought directions to ban the use of crackers by the people at large.

Advocate General B S Prasad submitted that so far the the state government has not taken any policy decision for banning the use of firecrackers during the Diwali festival.

'The government merely hopes that people will continue to observe the safety precautions for COVID- 19,' he informed the court.

The bench said presently the country and the state were struggling with COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to many, the second wave of COVID- 19 has already commenced.

It was common knowledge that COVID- 19 adversely affects the respiratory system.Moreover, the use of fireworks adversely affects the air quality.

Considering these two factors, the Rajasthan government has already banned the use of fireworks during Diwali season. Moreover, even other high courts have banned the use of fireworks in their respective states, it said.

The court also directed the state government to issue an appeal to the people, both through the print, press and the electronic media, to refrain from bursting firecrackers, so as to prevent any further deterioration in the air quality.

The court asked the state government to inform it about the steps taken by the government on implementing these directions on November 19. PTI VVK GDK VS VS