New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on August 17 a plea by the Maharashtra government seeking clarification on its 2014 order paving way for children above 12 years to participate in the formation of human pyramid in the Dahi Handi festival during Krishna Janmashtami.
A bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice L. Nageswara Rao on Wednesday issued notice to petitioner Swati Sayaji Patil on whose PIL Bombay High court had passed a number of directions on August 11, 2014 which were put on hold by the apex court three days later.
Patil is the secretary of NGO Utkarsh Mahila Samajik Sanstha.
The high court had asked the state government to seek clarification after Patil moved a contempt petition contending that the Maharashtra government and others were not abiding by its August 11, 2014, order limiting the height of the human pyramid to 20 feet.
The state government has contended that they were not bound by the 2014 direction of the high court, as the Supreme Court while staying the direction had not said anything on this aspect.
However, Bombay High court said its 2014 directions would remain in force since they have not been set aside by the apex court.
On this point, the high court asked the Maharashtra government to seek clarification from the Supreme Court.
The Bombay High Court in its 2014 order had said that those participating in the formation of human pyramid should not be below the age of 18 years and pyramid itself should not be more than 20 feet high.
The high court had also asked the state government to amend the Bombay Police Act and the Maharashtra Police Act which define dangerous activities to include the human pyramid during Janmashtami thereby making it a penal offence.
The Supreme Court by its August 14, 2014 order had put on hold the high court’s directions and allowed children above the age of 12 years to participate in the formation of human pyramid.
While staying the operation of the high court’s order, the apex court had issued notice returnable in eight weeks.
However, when the matter came up for hearing on October 27, 2014 the Supreme Court disposed of the petitions against the Bombay High Court order saying that they have become “infructuous” in view of its August 14, 2014 order.