A day after the blast, HC steps in against high-decibel fireworks

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:45 pm IST

Published - April 12, 2016 05:03 am IST - KOCHI

The Kerala High Court on Monday initiated a suo motu public interest writ petition based on a letter from a judge of the High Court seeking to ban high-decibel firecrackers in festivals and celebrations in the State.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman, ordered registration of a suo motu public interest litigation on the basis of the letter by Justice V. Chitambaresh and a report of the Kollam District Legal Services Authority in view of the Paravur tragedy.

Special sitting

The Bench will hold a special sitting on April 12 to hear the matter, in which the State government, Travancore, Kochi and Malabar Deveaswom Boards and the State Pollution Control Board have been made respondents.

In his letter, Justice Chitambaresh pointed out that the fireworks tragedy at Puttingal had left over 100 people dead besides disabling and injuring many and damaging nearby buildings.

The judge said statistics revealed that more than 500 people had been burned alive in accidents across the State. Existing laws such as the Explosives Act and the Rules or the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) were often honoured in breach.

The Judge said the right to profess, practice and propagate the religion of one’s choice under Article 25 of the Constitution did not take in the freedom to use dangerous crackers.

Barium nitrate, potassium nitrate, sulphur and aluminium powder were the main raw materials and a banned chemical, potassium chlorate, was used to accentuate the effect. Palakkad district topped the list for such manmade tragedies.

Judicial intervention

The letter said that time was more than ripe for immediate judicial intervention to stop such man-made tragedies by banning the use of high-decibel firecrackers.

The judge said life was “the most precious creation on this planet which cannot be replaced by money and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution “is very valuable”.

The judge said that the directives in the Anand Parthasarathy vs State of Kerala case issued in 2000 were not effective to curb the menace of dangerous fireworks display.

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