KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday said it was high time the government banned fireworks displays and parading of elephants as part of festivals and ceremonies. The court expressed hope that the political executive would make earnest efforts to refine bureaucracy and the civil service, freeing them from the disturbing influences and pressures.
Dismissing the bail pleas filed by more than 40 persons accused in the Puttingal fireworks tragedy, the court observed that Kerala had developed an ‘unhealthy’ culture that every religious festival and ceremony must be glamorised with fireworks.
The court observed that no religion would promote or sponsor such explosive ceremonies. There are sufficient laws to ban/control the use of explosives and other substances in festivals and ceremonies, and there exists a machinery to regulate/control the use of explosives.
“But, the machinery and the officers functioning under the law do not have the guts and commitment to enforce the law. That is why such calamities happen,” held the court. “When a calamity or tragedy occurs due to some action of a person, which the person could have actually foreseen, it is not called an accident. The prosecution records reveals that more than 5,000 kg of explosives were used by the two contractors for competitive fireworks display at Puttingal temple. The permitted quantity as per the licence was only 15 kg. “Those who used such a huge quantity of explosives would definitely have the full knowledge of the inevitable consequences. If a massacre occurs due to the use of such explosives, it cannot be called an accident,” held the court.
The court, meanwhile, granted bail to Jinju and Salim, the accused who allegedly sold explosive substances to the contractors. Counsel for the petitioner Adv P Vijayabhanu submitted that Jinju and Salim were not the persons who caused the explosion, and that they did not have any active/indirect role in the mishap. Since there is no material to prove that potassium chlorate was sold by the accused, continued detention of the duo was not necessary, the court observed.
Maligned by political interest
The civil service, including the police force, is maligned by political, communal and other interests to some extent
The bureaucracy requires refinement. Political executive also must be free from such ‘remote control’ and ‘alien’ pressures
If Revenue officials and police having charge of the Puttingal temple area were stern , the unfortunate tragedy would not have occurred
The tragedy occurred only because of the use of potassium chlorate and other banned substances in the fireworks