WITH just three days to go for the Dahi Handi celebrations, the state government is yet to announce how it expects to implement orders issued by the Bombay High Court in 2014 in response to a PIL seeking height restrictions on human pyramids and age limit of participants. The petitioner in the case, Swati Patil, Monday said the state government’s inaction could lead to more children being injured.
Patil stated that the Bombay High Court issued an order on August 11, 2014 including various safety measures to be undertaken by performers. “Every year, several Govindas suffer permanent injuries and some even die… Even last year, three children were injured during practice sessions. The High Court had thus directed the state government to increase the minimum age from 12 to 18 years last year. But no such circular or government resolution has been passed,” she said.
She added that the High Court order included other recommendations such as restricting height of human pyramids to 20 feet, ensuring Govindas wear helmets, laying cushions at the base of the pyramid to break a possible fall, among others.
“Among recommendations made by the High Court, the two most important were appointment of a ward committee including a corporator, social worker without any criminal record, ward officer and police officer to supervise and give a report to the state government and ensure that charitable trusts submit details of cash prizes to the charity commissioner…,” she said.
Patil said after the High Court issued the orders, the state government approached the Supreme Court for clarifications on certain points. On August 17, barring two recommendations, the SC stated that “the rest of the previous order shall continue to remain in force, till the petition is finally decided”.