Author: Nayantara Malhotra
In Ram Babu Dusad and Ors. v. State of Rajasthan and Anr. [D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 13327/2020] and Rajasthan Fire Work Dealers And Manufacturers Association and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan & Anr. [D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 13240/2020], a Division Bench [Pankaj Bhandari, J. and Chandra Kumar Songara, J.] of the High Court of Rajasthan, vide its order dated November 10, 2020, dismissed the Petitioners’ writ petitions seeking quashing of ban on sale of firecrackers.
The Petitioners were aggrieved by prohibition on issuance of licenses for manufacture and sale of fireworks and imposition of a complete ban on sale of fireworks in Rajasthan till December 12, 2020 and approached the Court.
The Petitioners contended that the ban was in contravention of Article 19(1)(g) of The Constitution of India (“the Constitution”) which guarantees the fundamental right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. The Petitioners argued that the State Government does not have the right to completely ban a profession, and at most, it can only impose reasonable restrictions under Article 19(6) of the Constitution. The Petitioners argued that this could have been done by allowing use of eco-friendly crackers. The Petitioners also pointed out that a complete ban on firecrackers would affect the livelihood of 20 lakh workers engaged in the manufacture of firecrackers. The Petitioners further argued that they had already placed orders for firecrackers based on the reasonable legitimate expectation that licenses would be issued.
Rejecting the Petitioners’ contentions, the Court observed that the Petitioners’ expectations could not be a basis for quashing the government’s orders or imposing reasonable restrictions. The Court noted that before issuing its directions, the State government had duly considered the representation of experts as per which use of firecrackers could seriously affect patients with asthma, COVID-19 and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The court held that the Government’s decision to ban firecrackers is not violative of the fundamental rights of the Petitioners. The Court observed, “Right to life embodies a constitutional value of supreme importance and stands on a higher pedestal than the right to practice any profession, as right to carry any business comes with a rider and Clause (6) of Article 19 permits the Government to impose reasonable restrictions. Pollution is bound to have an effect on the patients who are already suffering from Covid-19 and may also result in spreading of Covid-19 from asymptomatic patients.”
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