The use of high-decibel firecrackers must be banned at all temples in Kerala, a high court judge suggested on Monday, seeking judicial intervention by the court to stop “man-made” tragedies like the Kollam mishap that killed more than 100 people.
In a letter to registrar general of the high court, Justice V Chitambaresh said: “The time is more than ripe for immediate judicial intervention to stop such man-made tragedies by banning the use of high-decibel explosive firecrackers.”
A bench that deals in cases related to temples will take up the letter for discussion on Tuesday afternoon, treating it as a public interest litigation.
At least 100 people were killed and scores injured when an unauthorised fireworks show at a temple in Kerala set off blasts and a blaze early on Sunday, in yet another accident blamed on safety norms violations at places of worship in India.
“The right to profess, practice and propagate the religion of one’s choice under Article 25 of the Constitution of India does not take in the freedom to use dangerous crackers,” Chitambaresh said, and added that “only low decibel Chinese-type crackers can be permitted for display”.
His plea came amid growing calls for banning fireworks display in the wake of Kerala’s worst-ever fireworks tragedy.
Chitambaresh was sworn in as additional judge of the high court November 8, 2011 and appointed as permanent judge from December 7, 2012.
“This is not an isolated incident and statistics reveal that more than 500 people have been burnt alive in similar festivals and celebrations across the state.”
The Travancore Devaswom Board that manages about 1,255 temples in the state said it was not for a complete ban on such displays.
The board has issued an urgent circular to all temples under it, directing that the firework shows should be carried out in compliance with rules and regulations.