Punjab and Haryana High Court regulates sale and bursting of crackers on Diwali, directs strict compliance

Punjab and Hrayana High Court: The Court recently on a suo motu notice expressed its concern regarding pollution on bursting of crackers during Diwali in Mohali, Chandigarh and others areas of Punajab and Haryana. The Division Bench of Ajay Kumar Mittal, J. and Amit Rawal, J. clearly directed that the bursting of firecrackers within the territorial locations of Union Territory of Chandigarh, States of Punjab and Haryana shall be between 06:30 pm to 09:30 pm on Diwali day i.e. 19th October, 2017 only.

Before arriving at the conclusion, the Bench had considered the judgment cited by amicus curiae Shri Anupam Gupta relating to the firecrackers – Noise Pollution v. Union of India, (2005) 5 SCC 733. The Bench has totally banned any bursting of crackers even before or after 19th October.

The Court had also called for the reports on licences issued for sale of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on which it was intimated that a total number of 361 applicants have applied for issuance of temporary licences in the city and all the applications have been processed, though few of them might have been issued temporary licences, whereas, only one person has been issued permanent licence. Addl. Advocate General however, also informed that due to paucity of time, the data provided was not certain. Concerned over random distribution of temporary licenses, the Court ordered that Chandigarh, State of Punjab and Haryana will only be entitled to issue temporary licences up to 20% of the total number of temporary licenses issued in 2016 and the grant of issuance of temporary licenses to be on the basis of draw of lots to be arranged by concerned Deputy Commissioners of the area.

The Court also kept in mind the implementation of the directions issued by it and ordered that that PCR Vans shall be deployed by the UT, Chandigarh as well as the States of Punjab and Haryana to ensure the safety and keep an eye on the persons bursting the firecrackers beyond the time limit prescribed under the order. The Court left it open for NGOs to monitor the activities in their area concerned. All the Deputy Commissioners, Police Commissioners/SSPs/SPs of the UT Chandigarh, States of Punjab and Haryana have also been directed to ensure the meticulous compliance of the directions contained in the order. [Court on its own motion v. Chandigarh Administration, CWP No. 23548 of 2017, decided on 13.10.2017]

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