Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal government and the Pollution Control Board to ensure only green firecrackers with QR codes are sold in the State.
CAN 1 of 2022 has been filed in this public interest litigation praying the applicants be added as party respondents and for permission to trade and sell in green firecrackers during the ensuing festive season, that is, Diwali, Kali Puja and Chatt Puja.
Advocate R. N. Chakraborty, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the directions given by the Apex Court in Arjun Gopal & Ors. v/s Union of India & Ors. have been flagrantly violated in the State of West Bengal. No mechanism has been formulated either by the State of West Bengal or by the State Pollution Control Board for ensuring sale and bursting of green crackers only.
He contended that this has resulted in severe noise and air pollution in the city and other parts of the State in previous years. Hence, he prays there should be a total ban on the sale of crackers in the State.
Advocate Biswaroop Bhattacharyya, appearing for the added respondent Byabasayee Samity submitted that a similar issue had fallen for consideration before the Apex Court.
He contended that after considering the rival submissions, the Apex Court had set aside the order of total ban on firecrackers passed by the Court and remanded the matter for consideration of issuance of appropriate directions upon the State of West Bengal to ensure importation, sale and bursting of green crackers only in the State.
The division bench of Justice Apurba Sinha Ray and Justice Joymalya Bagchi noted that Mechanism to determine which crackers can be treated as green crackers has already been spelt out by the Apex Court in Goutam Roy and Another.
The court stated that it shall be incumbent on the Pollution Control Board as well as the police authorities to ensure that there is no importation, sale or bursting of crackers other than the green crackers bearing QR Code as specified in Goutam Roy and Another in the State of West Bengal.
In order to ensure the effective implementation of the directions, the court directed the Pollution Control Board and the State of West Bengal that no firecrackers other than green crackers bearing QR Code would be sold in the Bazi-Bazar which is proposed to be held in Kolkata.
It was further directed that the State Pollution Control Board as well as the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata shall deploy an appropriate number of personnel in the Bazi Bazar to ensure implementation of the aforesaid direction.
The bench further ordered that the representatives of the State Pollution Control Board and the police personnel shall be at liberty to inspect the firecrackers which are sold at Bazi Bazar and the police personnel shall seize any banned firecrackers which are offered for sale in the bazar.
The bench authorized the representatives of PESO/NEERI to be present at the Bazi Bazar and assist the Pollution Control Board/ police personnel to determine whether the firecrackers which are offered for sale bearing the requisite QR Code.
“We hope and trust that the festival of lights does not become a cause for concern where the demon of pollution poisons our air and leads to irreparable damage to the health of the population at large” the bench said.
Case title: Sabuj Mancha & Anr. v/s The State of West Bengal & Ors.
Citation: WPA (P) 292 of 2021 With IA No: CAN 1 of 2022