The Telangana High Court on Thursday, 12 November, ordered the state to ban sale and use of firecrackers.
It directed the authorities to give wide publicity through electronic and print media to the ban and to submit a report to it on 19 November the steps taken by the government to check usage of firecrackers.
The court passed the orders on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by P Indira Prakash, a High Court lawyer who sought a ban on firecrackers in the larger public interest in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has been asked to take steps to shut shops selling firecrackers immediately. It asked the authorities to prohibit sale and purchase of firecrackers and said that those found violating the orders should be penalised.
He submitted to the court that the condition of people already infected by virus would deteriorate and may even result in death due to increase in the level of air pollution from the smoke. He said children and senior citizens will be more vulnerable.
Prakash also voiced the apprehension that use of firecrackers posed a new risk this year as people are using sanitisers as part of Covid-19 precautionary measures. “Since sanitisers are inflammatory, even a small spark could lead to fires,” he said.
The petitioner said at a time when there are fears of second wave of Covid-19, the use of firecrackers during Diwali can add to the dangers. He argued that maintaining social distancing during the celebrations will not be possible.
Prakash, however, clarified that he filed the petition for ban on firecrackers only for the current year in view of the pandemic.
The petitioner had argued that that the pollution from the firecrackers would lead to further spread of the Covid-19 threat.
The high court posted the case for next hearing on 19 November, when the government has to file an action taken report.