Fire crackers are as harmful as firearms: Delhi High Court

New Delhi :Crackers are capable of causing harm like firearms and hospitals have to specially gear up for the “onslaught” on Diwali night, the Delhi High Court has said while rejecting a woman’s plea for a temporary licence to sell crackers in the national capital.

Noting that there was a public outcry over the bursting of firecrackers, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also said firecrackers do not have any religious sanctity and they not only adversely affected the environment but caused various ailments. Hence, licences for their sale should be granted by following rational criteria, he said.

“I may add that it is not as if firecrackers are capable of any less harm than an arm within the meaning of Arms Act. Owing to less stringent control on use, firecrackers are available far more easily than an arm and are rampantly used and which has over the years resulted in incidents of fire and injury caused by firecrackers, on the occasion of Diwali, having become a routine affair and multiplying annually.

“So much so that the city hospitals have to gear up for the onslaught and to be in a state of preparedness, especially on the night of Diwali. Certainly, none can claim a right to burst firecrackers at the cost of injury to another,” the court said.

The court’s observation came while declining to interfere with Delhi police Commissioner’s October 31 decision to refuse Temporary Fireworks Licence to Manisha Sharma for sale of fire crackers in the national capital.

“Inspite of the Supreme Court having limited number of hours during which the firecrackers can be burst/displayed on the festival of Diwali, the same remains more on paper than in fact, owing to the implicit difficulties in enforcement.

“The only way of enforcement is to limit the availability of firecrackers in the city,” the judge said, adding that “I am of the view that it is not in public interest for this court to direct the authorities concerned to grant temporary licence to sell firecrackers when the authorities have refused the same to the petitioner.”