A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking ban of idol immersion during festivals like Durga Puja and Dussehra was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Petitioner Salek Chand Jain has requested the apex court to direct the Union Ministry of Environment to develop scientific methods for immersion of idols to stop further pollution of rivers and water bodies.
Jain claimed there was an increase in water pollution following immersion of puja materials and idols.
His counsel Sugriv Dubey said: “Suitability of water for aquatic life and for human use depends on its quality.”
“Large scale immersions on the occasion of Durga Puja, Dussehra or Ganesh Chathurti every year is detrimental to the rivers.”
According to the petitioner, water supply in the Capital gets affected for almost five days after the Navratra and Durga Puja celebrations.
The immersions of idols apparently choke the two Haiderpur plants leading to a drop in the production of treated water, the PIL claimed.
“The plant treats about 225 million gallons (mgd) of water every day. However, the quantity dropped from September 29 onwards this year. It went down to 204 mgd and later to 108 mgd the next day,” Dubey said.
“This affected supply in major parts of the Capital.”
The petitioner accused the pollution control board of being a “silent spectator” despite knowing that the idols are made of poisonous chemicals.
He said the Union Ministry of Environment was under obligation to provide necessary arrangement of immersion of idols after the puja celebrations were over.
The PIL stated: “Fundamental right to religious freedom cannot be allowed to be enjoyed in an absolutely unrestricted way.”
“There are limitations within which these fundamental rights can be exercised as also lawful restrictions which can be imposed by the state on
such rights and particularly when the public order, morality, health are concerned,” the petition said.