The Bombay high court directed the state government on Friday to obtain clarification from the Supreme
Court after the government said the court order capping the height of human pyramids during the dahi handi festival to 20 feet was no longer in force.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a criminal contempt petition filed by activist Swati Patil.
She said the orders passed by the high court on her public interest litigation (PIL) had been violated during the last dahi handi festival.
The Chembur resident had filed a PIL raising concerns about the casualties and those injured during the festival.
She added that in 2014, two people were killed and 365 injured. She said the unreasonable heights of human pyramids were responsible for the deaths.
Acting on her PIL, the high court had directed the state on August 11, 2014, to ban children younger than 18 from participating.
It said the height of these pyramids should be restricted to 20 feet - a maximum of four levels. Patil’s petition states that at several places, this limit has been violated.
She cited the Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Morcha’s – the youth wing of the BJP – pyramid that had nine levels.
The court issued a contempt notice to Ganesh Pandey, president of the body.
Public prosecutor Sandip Shinde informed the bench that the 2014 order was no longer applicable in view of subsequent orders of the Apex Court.
However, the bench said the state cannot take such a stand, as the cap on the pyramids’ height is directly related to the participants’ safety.