Dahi Handi: HC refuses to get into height, age limits

Maratha Kranti Morcha in Mumbai Plan Wednesday's commute better to avoid traff

Maratha Kranti Morcha in Mumbai Plan Wednesday's commute better to avoid traff... Delhi

In 2014, the high court had ordered that children below the age of 18 years can not participate in the festival. The State government told the court that it had notified dahi handi as an adventure sport, and consequently the matter of age of the participants will be restricted to not below 14 years, as mandated by the Child Labour Act 1986. Advocate Nevshe said that after today's order, "the state government will have to legislate on the issue pertaining to the height of the human pyramid".

A Division Bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and M.S. Karnik said the court can not impose such restrictions as this falls under the purview of the State Legislature. "If we enter into this arena we will be infringing upon state's domain", said Justice B R Gavai.

Remarking that "an accident could take place anywhere, even in one's own home, or the toilet", and that the courts need not issue regulations for "everything", the Bombay high court on Monday refused to issue directions regulating the age of participants, and the height limit for the human pyramids formed during dahi handi celebrations.

During the festival, Govindas, as the participants or revellers are known, re-enact the myth of Lord Krishna stealing butter from a hanging pot, known as the Dahi-handi.

Activist and petitioner Swati Patil said, "The Supreme Court should have given the order when the matter was with it". As far as the age is concerned, the court accepted the state government's undertaking that children below 14 years of age will not be allowed to participate in "Dahi Handi" festival. This high court order was challenged in the Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to HC on August 1for passing fresh orders without getting influenced by any observations made by any courts. The Supreme Court had on August 10 a year ago revived a plea challenging a Bombay HC order restricting the height of human pyramids to 20 feet for Dahi Handi ritual, saying it needed to hear the PIL petitioner before passing any order. In 2016, several organisations had protested the restrictions, some even violated the conditions and others sported black bands during the traditional celebrations.

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