SC order is last word on dahi handi  

  • Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2016 01:13 IST

The state home department has made it clear that the Supreme Court’s order in connection with celebration of Dahi-handi festival will be followed and no government department will contradict the same.

After sports department of the state government issued an order conferring Dahi Handi the status adventure sport, allowing the govindas to put up multiple layers of human pyramid, the home department has intervened asking the sports department to amend its stand. The home department has made it clear that the government departments will have to follow the Supreme Court orders.

The GR issued by the school education and sports department on August 11, 2015 stated that the Dahi handi has been given the status of adventure sport as it has tradition of year-long celebration. Though it is silent about the permissible human pyramids, the GR says the game has the tradition of multiple pyramids. 

Another GR issued on June 29, 2016 by Women and Child Development Department has said that the youth below 12 years are not permitted to participate in Dahi Handi. The department had stated in the resolution that as per the Bombay High Court's revised orders in August 2014, the age was brought down to 12 years from 1 8 years. 

Since both the GRs issued by two different department contradict with the Supreme Court's recent orders, the home department has intervened to clarify that the apex court orders shall prevail. "You are hereby directed to urgently revise yours resolutions on the celebration of Dahi Handi, particularly on the height of the pyramids and the age of the participants. Since the festival is just a day away, you are also instructed to widely publicise the decisions based on the court orders," the oders stated. 

Two different GRs and the fresh home department order has created confusion among the dahi handi celebrating mandals. Home department has however claimed that the government will follow the Court directives in letter and spirit. "In its order on August 17, the SC had said the height of the pyramids should not exceed the 20 ft and children below 18 years cannot participate in the ritual. It is true that two resolutions issued by two dipartments are in the contradiction of the court orders. Since the orders are to be implemented by the police, we have directed the departments to issue revise resolutions." 

Similarly, the department has instructed law and judiciary department and director general of police to implement the SC orders related to the permissions under the Bombay Public Trust Act and permission under Maharashtra Police Act. 

Geeta Zagade,general secretary, Dahi Handi coordination committee, said, "There is lot of confusion and we are saddened that the government failed to present our case very strongly in the apex court. If the home department has directing the police to implement the SC order, it should first consider if they are law breakers. We have set all our eyes on tomorrow's SC hearing." 

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a text message said, "The government has to abide by the SC orders." 


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