The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed all civic bodies in the state to inspect licences issued in every ward for selling firecrackers ahead of Diwali.
A bench led by Justice VM Kanade said the above exercise was essential to avoid any fire accidents.
The bench said that while there was “no question of curtailing one’s right to celebrate religious festivals, the state must, however, ensure that adequate precautions are taken so that the lives of other citizens are not put in danger”.
The bench directed all civic corporations, the state government, police and district collectors to ensure that the provisions of the Explosives Act 1884, that regulate the sale and storage of firecrackers, are implemented.
“The state should consider imposing heavy fines on businessmen who violate the provisions of the Act governing sale and storage of firecrackers,” the bench said.
The bench has also asked the state to constitute a committee at every ward to monitor the sale and storage of firecrackers.
“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,” it said.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a Nashik resident, seeking that the state be given adequate directions to prevent accidents that take place due to negligence in storing firecrackers.
The plea argues that the amended rules under the Act mandate that firecrackers must not be stored or sold in shops situated in residential buildings or basements. The plea also claims that the civic bodies and the police fail in implementing the provisions of the Act, leading to frequent instances of fire and accidents.
The high court is likely to take up the matter for hearing on November 30.