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Maharashtra urges SC to remove dahi handi age cap

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta said a “kanha’s” role cannot be enacted by a 20-year-old boy and it has to be a 12-year-old child, who could perform the act.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2017 23:31 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dahi Handi,Supreme Court,Maharashtra
Maharashtra assured the Supreme Court that it would announce precautionary measures for the dahi handi event.(HT File Photo)

The Maharashtra government on Monday urged the Supreme Court to remove the age cap it has imposed on participants in the dahi handi celebrations, assuring that the state would announce precautionary measures to ensure no child is injured during the sport.

Concerned over the safety of the young boys, who risk their lives to re-enact the myth of Lord Krishna stealing butter during the festival, the SC had last August banned those below 18 from participating and limited the height of human pyramids to 20 feet.

This year’s celebrations are scheduled for August 14. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench headed by justice Kurian Joseph that “kanha’s” role cannot be enacted by a 20-year-old boy and it has to be a 12-year-old child, who could perform the act.

“The purpose of celebrations gets defeated if a 20-year-old is made to perform kanha’s role. I don’t think this is an area where the court should travel into. Also, it is done by trained people. And now we are planning to make it compulsory for all to wear helmets and also instruct the mandals organising the festival to tie the child to a crane so that he does not fall,” Mehta told the court.

He took time to file suggestions it intends to issue to make sure no accidents take place during the dahi handi celebrations. The court fixed August 1 to hear the case again after the lawyer representing the organisers said the festival is due next month.

On August 11, 2014, the HC had ordered the state to declare dahi handi a dangerous performance under the Maharashtra Police Act and impose safety restrictions. Petitions were filed against the order, which the apex court disposed on October 27, 2014 observing the case was now “infructuous.”

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 23:28 IST