The Supreme Court has set aside the Calcutta High Court order putting a blanket ban on the sale, purchase and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the state during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations and some other festivities this year to check air pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi remarked that the top court has already passed an order regulating the use of firecrackers which use polluting materials.
It said, “There cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers. Strengthen mechanism to supervise and implement (Supreme Court’s earlier order).”
The Bench said its order will be applicable to all states uniformly and West Bengal cannot be an exception. The apex court termed the High Court order as an “extreme order”, said it has taken a consistent view on the matter and restated its October 29, 2021 order which reiterated its October 2018 order that there is no total ban.
In the order, the Bench stated, “The State submits that officials are taking necessary steps to ensure that directions issued by this Court (Supreme Court) are complied with in letter and spirit. We set aside the impugned order and permit any person interested to approach High Court by placing all relevant materials.”
The top court was hearing an appeal against the Calcutta High Court’s October 29 order banning the sale, purchase and use of all firecrackers in the state this year.
The appeal filed by the chairman of a West Bengal-based firecracker association and another such group stated that the High Court order was “patently erroneous” in holding a complete ban on firecrackers within West Bengal when the apex court has allowed the use of green firecrackers in permissible limit across all states.
The petitioners have said that they represent the interest of about seven lakh families who are involved in the process of manufacture and sale of fireworks and are involved in the fireworks industry in one manner or another.
They said if a blanket ban is imposed in this season on the sale and use of firecrackers in West Bengal, the sellers and manufacturers will have to suffer irreparable losses which may “lead to a complete shutdown of the firecracker industry altogether”.
The High Court in its order had said that the expression “firecrackers” will cover all types of sparklers as well as other similar materials, whether or not their bursting or burning involves any sound or light generation.
The order had stated, “The state should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations as well as Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s Birthday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations this year.” It said that only wax or oil-based diyas may be used for the occasions.
On October 29, the top court had said celebration cannot be at the cost of others’ health and clarified that while there is no total ban on the use of firecrackers, fireworks that contain Barium salts are prohibited.
It had warned that top officials at various levels shall be held personally liable for any lapses. The top court had said it is unfortunate that despite various directions issued by it there is a blatant violation going on.
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“There is no confirmation of any terror angle”, says Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said there is “no confirmation of any terror angle” on a mysterious boat loaded with weapons.
“There is no confirmation of any terror angle. The boat has just drifted here. We are not ruling out anything, investigating all aspects. Police have been asked to be on high alert,” Fadnavis said.
A suspicious boat with three AK-47 rifles, bullets, and other weapons has been found near Harihareshwar beach in Raigad.
“Some details cannot be revealed as it may spread an atmosphere of fear. No possibilities of any consequences would be taken lightly,” Fadnavis said.
Ahead of the Dahi Handi festival in the state Deputy CM has instructed police and administration to be prepared.
“The boat belongs to an Australian citizen. The boat’s engine broke out in the sea, people were rescued by a Korean boat. It has now reached Harihareshwar beach. Keeping in mind the coming festive season, police and administration have been instructed to be prepared,” Fadnavis said.
Moreover, the presence of the boat raised alarm bells as on 26 November 2008 terrorists attacked the city and entered by sea route.
“ATS is also working on it. The additional force will also be deployed if necessary. All the precautions needed to be taken as per the norms of abundant caution,” Fadnavis said.
However, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) was rushed to the spot and more details are awaited.
35-year-old women died after being set on fire by kin
The 35-year-old school teacher who was set on fire by her family over a money dispute died at the SMS Hospital, according to the police.
Manish Agrawal, the Superintendent of Police (SP) for Jaipur Rural, reported that the deceased was identified as Anita. On August 10, when she demanded that her relatives pay back the money they had borrowed from her, the private school teacher in her hamlet in the Raisar Police Station area, around 80 kilometres from the state capital Jaipur, was set on fire.
“The accused poured inflammable material on the woman and set her ablaze in her village on August 10,” Additional SP Dharmendra Yadav said.
Anita was initially transferred to the government hospital in Jamrao Ramgarh, where she was treated before being sent on to Jaipur, where she passed away seven days later. According to her relatives, the police were working along with the accused and neglected to intervene when it was needed, which caused her death.
Police, however, said that as soon as they learned about the event, they rushed to the scene and admitted Anita to the hospital.
Suspicious boat loaded with weapons including AK-47 found near Harihareshwar beach
Meanwhile, the police said the boat had come to the Raigad coast while floating. Officials said the weapons were found in the boat but no person was present in the boat. Security has been tightened in the surrounding areas and police are on high alert.
Raigad MLA Aditi Tatkare said that she has requested the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to conduct a special inquiry into the incident. Tatkare also said that the incident is a major security threat.
“The Local Police are probing the matter and I have demanded the Chief Minister and Deputy CM to urgently appoint a special team of ATS or State Agency to look into the matter,” Takare said.
“The Coast guard and Maharashtra Maritime Board have been informed and investigations are underway,” police said.
Raju Srivastav’s health deteriorating, still on ventilator
The condition of comedian Raju Srivastava, who is still unconscious and on life support in the ICU, is reportedly critical.
Raju Srivastava’s condition has got worse, according to the doctors, and he is still in a serious condition.
He was stated to be reacting well, showing a modest improvement in his health, and showing some signs of being able to move his bodily parts.
On August 10, the 58-year-old well-known comedian underwent a cardiac arrest and was subsequently admitted to the AIIMS in Delhi.
According to reports, he was complaining of chest problems while running on the treadmill. On the same day, he had also had an anangioplast.
On Friday, Raju Srivastava’s family released a statement claiming that he is in stable condition and pleading with his followers to disregard rumours and false information concerning his health.
Sadhu found dead in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh, probe initiated
A sadhu in Bhakhrawali village of Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh was found murdered in his house on Wednesday.
On the morning of 17 August, the villagers spotted the body of the sadhu outside his hut.
The deceased sadhu has been identified as Chetan Das and police found injury marks on it.
Meanwhile, the reason behind the murder is yet to be ascertained. Moreover, the police are investigating the matter.
“Some unknown people had attacked the saint. As per the villagers, he hailed from Punjab and they used to serve him food at his hut,” said the police mentioning that he seemed to have had good relations with everyone in the village.
According to the Sangaria Police, the sadhu had been living in the village for the last 25 years. Earlier on Wednesday, the body of the sadhu was found lying in the pool of blood.
“Mourning the death of the saint Chetan Das, the villagers have demanded the arrest of the persons involved in his killing. His body has been sent to a mortuary of Sangaria Hospital,” the police said.
Moreover, after receiving information about the incident Deputy Superintendent of Sangarai Police Prateek Mile reached the spot.
However, a probe has been investigated and sadhu’s nephew Ravi Shankar Sharma has lodged a case in the police station.
Sisodia questions centre, ‘who decided the resettlement of Rohingyas?’
Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister of Delhi, stated on Thursday that he has written to Union home minister Amit Shah requesting clarification of the Center’s position over the relocation of Rohingya Muslims to EWS flats in the capital.
SiSodia sought clarification on who decided the resettlement of Rohingyas if it wasn’t either the central or the Delhi government. “We didn’t decide to Centre also says it didn’t. Then, who took the decision?” Sisodia said while addressing a press conference.
He further demanded Shah conduct an investigation. He added, “Shah should launch an investigation to find out whose orders it was to move Muslim Rohingya refugees into flats.”
He added that neither Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, nor Sisodia, who himself is the home minister , were aware of the plan, which was first tweeted by the Union’s housing minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, and later rejected by the Centre.
“We got to know through newspapers that a scheme to provide flats to Rohingyas is going on. I asked the officers nd got to know some meetings did take place where Central government officers were present,” Sisodia further said.
“When I asked for details of the meeting, I saw that it was mentioned in the files that for the approval by the Central Govt, it was being directly sent through the chief secretary to the LG. It was completely hidden from the elected government of Delhi. why this conspiracy?” he added.
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