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Judicial ban on fire-crackers during Diwali: Implementation issues

  In a historic decision, the National Green Tribunal on 09.11.2020 has directed a complete ban on sale or use of firecrackers between 10-30 November in all cities and towns across the country having “poor” ambient air quality, whereas restricted use of green crackers in cities with “moderate” ambient air quality to two hours. The ambient air quality will be calculated based on the data from November 2019.  In another matter coming from the Calcutta HC, the Supreme Court shared a similar view, when the vacation bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee refused to interfere with the decision of Calcutta High Court regarding ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in West Bengal for Diwali, Kali Puja and other festivals. Though the Court recognised the importance of festivals in Indian culture, it stressed that it cannot be weighed against the preservation of life in this pandemic.    In view of the current pandemic, the Court ordered that there would be no usage, di
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  In the event of outbreak of Novel CoronaVirus disease (COVID 19), the Government had declared country-wide lockdown in various phases and controlled the movement of masses. Alongwith the lockdown, the respective State Governments have invoked the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to impose certain restrictions in order to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Penal provisions of the said statutes are being used as preventive and curative measures.  In this post we would be explaining the scope of powers under the two statutes, and the deficiencies therein. We further explore the Public Health (Prevention, Control and Management of Epidemics, Bio-terrorism and Disasters) Bill, 2017 and recommend promulgating it as an Ordinance to better counter the pandemic, since it would enable stricter penalties and statutory support for implementation of policies regarding ‘quarantine’, ‘social distancing’, ‘isolatio