Kerala High Court Judge seeks ban on high decibel fire crackers

New Delhi: Use of high decibel fire crackers must be banned at all Kerala temples, a senior Kerala High Court Judge suggested on Monday, seeking immediate judicial intervention by the court to stop “man-made” tragedies like Kollam mishap.

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 fire crackers.” The ‘Devaswom Bench’ comprising Justices Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Anu Sivaraman will consider the petition tomorrow afternoon.

Justice Chitambaresh said, “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.” “Pyrotechnics display using ‘Amittu’, ‘Gundu’, ‘Kathinavedi’ etc have to be banned and at best only low decibel Chinese-type crackers can be permitted for display,” he said.

He urged the Registrar General to place his letter before Devaswom bench and consider if it could be treated as a Public Interest Litigation and appropriate interim orders passed. The Judge said the fireworks tragedy at Puttingal Devi Temple at Paravur in Kollam has left more than 100 people dead besides injuring and disabling scores apart from causing damage to property. “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 existing laws like Explosives Act and the Rules framed thereunder or the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) are often honoured by its breach by the organisers,” he said. Noting that the Supreme Court has come down heavily on bull taming sport ‘Jallikkattu’ in the name of religious celebrations, Justice Chitambaresh asked, “then why not fireworks which consume human lives”?

He said the deafening noise and widespread pollution caused by fireworks adds to the woes and miseries of numerous citizens living in the vicinity. “Palakkad district tops the list for such man-made tragedies and I cannot turn a blind eye to this senseless celebrations in temples, churches and mosques,” the Judge said in the letter.

The Judge’s plea come amid growing calls for banning fireworks display in the wake of Kerala’s worst-ever fireworks tragedy which killed 109 and injured 383 in the wee hours on Sunday.