New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday said nobody under the age of 18 will be allowed to participate in human pyramid formation in the ‘Dahi Handi’ festival on Janmashtami on August 25 in Maharashtra.
An apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice L. Nageswara Rao also said the height of the human pyramid should not be more than 20 feet, observing that on the grounds of religious feeling acrobatics could not be permitted.
The bench said this while allowing two Bombay High Court directions passed in 2014.
However, the bench expressed its misgivings as to how the authorities will “control or supervise” that children below the age of 18 do not participate in human pyramid formation.
The decision came as the court restored the 2014 petition by some ‘Dahi Handi’ organisers challenging the High Court order holding that youngsters below the age of 18 would not participate in the human pyramid formation and the same too would not be more than 20 feet.
The High Court had also issued directions on the framing of rules or amending the circular, which the top court had put on hold saying it would hold hearing on the entire matter in October.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra, told the court that the ‘Dahi Handi’ festival was rooted in the tales of Lord Krishna stealing butter when he was aged 12 to 14.
However, lawyer Nitesh S. Nevshe who appeared for Swati Sayaji Patil told the court that 156 persons who suffered falls during the festival were admitted in government hospitals in 2011 in Mumbai alone. Of this, 142 cases were of serious injuries.
Nevshe told the court that last year the number of cases reported in hospitals across Maharashtra was more than 1,000.
It was on the public interest litigation of Patil — secretary of NGO Utkarsh Mahila Samajik Sanstha — that the High Court had passed a number of directions on August 11, 2014, which were put on hold by the apex court three days later.
The Maharashtra government had approached the apex court to seek clarification on its 2014 order after the Bombay High Court asked it to do so in the wake of a contempt petition filed by Patil for the violation of its August 11, 2014, order.