Cracker ban: HC order allowing more vendors in Amritsar stokes controversy
Acting on a petition, Justice Sehrawat passed an order on October 17 allowing 39 vendors to sell the crackers in place of 10 vendors, to whom permission was granted on October 13punjab Updated: Oct 27, 2017 10:55 IST
An order of a single judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court allowing more vendors to sell crackers ahead of this Diwali in Amritsar than the limit fixed by a division bench, has stoked a controversy.
The division bench of justice AK Mittal and justice Amit Rawal will now ponder over whether judge Rajbir Sehrawat acted in violation of the division bench order.
Justice Sehrawat passed an order on Oct 17 allowing 39 vendors to sell crackers in place of 10 vendors, to whom permission was granted by the administration.
It was on October 13 that the high court division bench had directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to allot licences for selling of crackers not more than 20% of the vendors given licences last year.
However, acting on the petition of a few Amritsar vendors, justice Sehrawat passed an order on October 17 allowing 39 vendors to sell the crackers in place of 10 vendors, to whom permission was granted by the administration after the October 13 order.
Justice Sehrawat, while allowing more vendors to sell crackers, recorded that number of licenses in Amritsar was restricted to an unreasonably low number by interpreting the order of the division bench. He passed the order after the petitioner argued that number of licences, as restricted by the administration, was unrealistic. Although Amritsar has a population of more than 15 lakh, only 10 licenses were issued; whereas with a population of around 8 lakh, in Chandigarh, 96 licences were issued.
During the resumed hearing on Thursday when the high court bench asked amicus curiae, senior advocate, Anupam Gupta to address arguments on the issue, Gupta termed the order “subversive of judicial discipline” and said that the single judge acted in violation of division bench.
The division bench also asked the petitioners’ counsel to file an affidavit as to how matter was listed before a single judge bench when earlier a division bench had dealt with the matter.
Punjab, Haryana hail ban
Meanwhile, during the hearing, Punjab and Haryana hailed the division bench order of the restricted timings for bursting crackers on Diwali, bringing down the number of licences to 20% and that less pollution was recorded due to the order.
The HC bench has now extended the stay on sale of crackers till November 1 — the next date of hearing, when it will deliberate on the issue of bursting crackers in marriages and other festivals such as Gurupurab and Eid.