21 Nov 2023 6:37 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has directed that Deputy Commissioners henceforth shall not grant licences beyond 600 kgs of storage and selling of fireworks/crackers/sparklers, failing which they would be held accountable for any mishap.A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna issued directions in regards to grant of license by authority, storing of fire crackers and safety measures to be...
The Karnataka High Court has directed that Deputy Commissioners henceforth shall not grant licences beyond 600 kgs of storage and selling of fireworks/crackers/sparklers, failing which they would be held accountable for any mishap.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna issued directions in regards to grant of license by authority, storing of fire crackers and safety measures to be adopted by the vendors.
a. Application for storing fireworks i.e., crackers or sparklers less than 600 kgs. shall only be considered by the Deputy Commissioner, beyond 600 kgs. the Deputy Commissioner shall not venture into grant of licence.
b. Every licensee shall maintain safe distance as is depicted under the Act from the storehouses to any residential premises or any place of inhabitants.
c. Adequate number of fire extinguishers of adequate kilograms, shall find place in any storehouses/shops, where crackers/fire workers or sparklers are stored and sold.
d. Buckets of water as is necessary under the Rules shall also be a part of the storehouse. e. It would be the responsibility of the officers of the State Government to randomly inspect and take appropriate action against those licensees of the storehouses/shops, if they would find any violations of the terms of licence or any safety measures, on a case to case basis.
The court gave the direction while disposing of a petition filed by one Kalavathi seeking to quash order dated 25.10.2023 passed by the Deputy Commissioner concerned, cancelling her license to sale of firecrackers. She claimed that an untoward incident took place on 07.10.2023 in a fire cracker godown in Bengaluru based on which several licenses came to be cancelled, one being hers.
It was argued that before cancellation of license, no opportunity of hearing was afforded to her whereas all necessary inspection and precautionary measures were checked before granting NOC to her.
Deputy Solicitor General H Shanthi Bhushan appearing for the Controller of Explosives submitted the issue is that the very license issued is contrary to law. It was submitted that Deputy Commissioner granted licence to store and sell fireworks/crackers not exceeding 1000 kgs, which power is unavailable to the Deputy Commissioner.
The bench noted that grant of license and its cancellation is dealt with under the provisions of the Explosives Act and Rules. In terms of Clause 5 of Schedule IV, an application for grant of license for fireworks/crackers/sparklers to the tune of 500 kgs, is with the Deputy Commissioner/ District Magistrate and between 500 to 1200 kgs the power is with the Controller of Explosives.
Following which it said “A perusal at the subject license would indicate it being granted to store and sell 1000 kgs., which power the Deputy Commissioner, on the face of it, did not possess. Therefore, the license granted is contrary to law.”
Court said it is a matter of surprise as to how the Deputy Commissioner has granted licence "left, right and center", exercising power under the Explosives Act qua the quantity, without having such power.
Accordingly it directed that Deputy Commissioners’ henceforth shall hold their hands in granting licences beyond 600 kgs of storage and selling of fireworks/crackers/sparklers, failing which they would be held accountable for any mishap.
It observed, “What has emerged now due to the illegal grant of licence by the Deputy Commissioner is, a place which can store only 600 kgs. is now permitted to store 1000 kgs., they are storage of fireworks or sparklers. It is trite that ‘a spark neglected can burn the house’. Therefore, it is high time that caution is exercised by the State, in grant of indiscriminate licenses.”
Thud, Court deemed it appropriate to restrict petitioner's license for storage upto 600 Kgs. Accordingly, it directed the authority to forthwith unlock the premises and permit the petitioner to correct the lacunae that is found in the inspection report.
Appearance: Advocate Sharath S Gowda for Petitioner.
Advocate K.S.Harish for R1 TO R7.
DSG H.Shanthi Bhushan FOR R8.
Citation No: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 441
Case Title: Kalavathi And Director General and Inspector General of Police & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 24195 OF 2023