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Thursday, November 26, 2020

‘Preservation of life is priority’: SC refuses to interfere with Calcutta HC firecracker ban

"We understand these festivals are important... We are in a situation where life itself is in danger... There can be no greater value than preservation of life itself," Justice Chandrachud said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 12, 2020 12:55:45 am
Cracker ban, SC on cracker ban, Bengal firecracker ban, Kolkata firecracker ban, Calcutta HC firecracker ban, Indian ExpressPeople in West Bengal are gearing up to celebrate Diwali, Chhat puja and Jagadhatri puja, among other festivals. (Express Photo/File)

The Supreme Court Wednesday rejected a plea against the ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in West Bengal which was imposed by the Calcutta High Court for Diwali, Kali Puja and other festivals, saying “we are in a situation where life itself is danger” and “there can be no greater value now than preservation of life”.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee was hearing a plea by one Gautam Roy and the Burrabazaar Fireworks Dealers Association, challenging the November 5 High Court order.

Justice Chandrachud remarked, “I understand this may cause hardships for your clients. But we are in the midst of a pandemic… Can anyone even step out of their house in Kolkata or any other city today?

“We are in a situation where preservation of life is the priority and anything which is done by High Courts for that, this court will have a lot of deference to that,” he said.

The counsel appearing for the appellants contended that there was no empirical data before the High Court to back its decision. But the apex court did not seem inclined to interfere and said, “This is a HC in the middle of the pandemic as judges know these festivals mean a lot to the people.”

The bench asked the counsel to not press the prayer.

“Life itself is precious, life itself is imperilled in these times. All of us have elderly people in our homes. And when there is something that can make life better for these people, let’s all come together,” Justice Chandrachud said, dismissing the appeal.

The high court had directed that the ban would also be in force during the Jagaddhatri Puja, Chhath and Kartik Puja, adding that the guidelines—which were in place during Durga Puja, such as no entry to pandals—would also be in effect.

Also read | DMK MP urges Centre to lift ‘shocking’ ban on firecrackers, says they wont hurt environment or worsen Covid-19

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