Firecrackers banned in 9 districts, 14 districts yet to decide, Maharashtra govt tells Bombay HC

In light of the NGT order, Maharashtra issued a notification on sale and use of crackers across the state on November 9, state informs the high court.
People buy firecrackers for upcoming Diwali festival in Mumbai.(HT File Photo)
People buy firecrackers for upcoming Diwali festival in Mumbai.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Nov 12, 2020 11:53 PM IST
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ByK A Y Dodhiya, Mumbai

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking ban on the sale and use of fire crackers during Diwali after the court was informed by the state that it had issued a notification banning the sale and use of fire crackers in nine districts and asked the local authorities of 14 districts to decide on the issue. The PIL filed by a Pune-based environmentalist sought implementation of the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order which banned the use of fire crackers across the country due to poor air quality. The PIL sought directions to the state and local authorities to abide by the NGT order.

A division bench of justice AK Menon and justice SP Tavade, while hearing the PIL filed by Aniruddha Deshpande, was informed by advocates Niranjan Bhavake, Amit Karle and counsel Aseem Naphade that NGT had, on November 9, passed an order banning the sale and use of fire crackers. The order, while specifying a total ban on fire crackers in cities where average ambient air quality during November (as per available data of last year) fell under ‘poor’ and above category, had also directed states to regulate the use and sale of fire crackers where air quality was ‘moderate’ or below.

In light of these directions of NGT, the PIL sought a ban on sale and use of crackers across the entire state as the ambient air quality, as per the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), was below ‘moderate’ or ‘poor’ categories.

On its part, the state through government pleader Priyabhushan Kakde informed the court that in light of the NGT order, the state had issued a notification on sale and use of crackers across the state on November 9 itself. The notification, Kakade submitted, put a total ban on use of fire crackers in nine districts which included Ambernath, Badlapur, Chandrapur, Dombivli, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Vasai, Virar and Kalyan. Referring to the notification, Kakade submitted that in 14 other districts, which included Akola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Bhiwandi, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Sangli and Ulhasnagar, the respective municipal corporations had been directed to assess the situation and air quality and to take a decision accordingly in line with the NGT order.

After hearing the submissions, the court expressed its satisfaction with the measures initiated by the state in implementing the NGT order and disposed of the PIL.

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