A few days before Diwali celebrations begin all over the country, the Bombay High Court has directed all municipal corporations in Maharashtra to inspect/re-verify licences that have been issued for selling firecrackers in every ward.
A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Swapna Joshi was hearing a PIL that highlights the accidents that take place due to negligence shown in storing firecrackers.
The petition states that the amended rules under the Explosives Act 1884 specify that firecracker-selling licence should not be given to shops situated in residential buildings. It is further specifically provided that these firecrackers should not be sold in basements.
The petitioner also alleged that even though the municipal corporations cancel licences of shop owners who violate the said rules, the police do not take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.
In 2008, the Central government came out with rules under the Explosives Act, 1884. Under these rules, several restrictions and regulations have been imposed for the licensees to comply with.
Directing all the civic bodies, Justice Kanade said: “Constitute a committee in every ward for the purpose of inspecting and re-verifying the licenses that have been issued for selling fire crackers. This is an unpleasant task, as businessmen will resist because they are trying to make money. But lives of people are more important than making money. Ensure that rules are strictly complied with.”
In its order dated October 17, 2016, the bench said: “Ideally, where the open place is available, all these shops should be located there so that the damages, if any caused, would be minimum and it would be possible to regulate and monitor the storage and sale of these firecrackers.”
The petitioner’s lawyer, Abhay Parab, also placed on record details of an incident that occurred in Sivakasi where eight persons died due to asphyxiation caused by heavy smoke, as a result of a fire that broke out in a shop selling firecrackers. Apparently, the fire was caused while loading crackers on a truck.
This matter will now be heard on November 30.
Read the order here.
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