A special bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi of the Supreme Court has set aside the Calcutta High Court order banning firecrackers during Kali Puja, Diwali and other festivals this year citing air pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bench asked the West Bengal government to explore the possibility of ensuring that banned firecrackers and related items are prevented from being brought into the state at the entry point itself.

The Bench, which assembled during the Diwali break to hear the matter, was hearing the pleas against the October 29 order of a Division Bench of the High Court comprising of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and Justice Aniruddha Roy banning the sale, use and purchase of all types of firecrackers in the state.

"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," the High Court had directed.

The High Court had also said that only wax or oil-based diyas may be used for the occasions.

The State of West Bengal supported appeal challenging the High Court's order. Its Counsel, Senior Advocate Anand Grover argued that the state had a plan in place to ensure that only green crackers are sold and that the High Court's apprehensions were misplaced.

With PTI inputs