Mandals and Govinda groups that violated safety norms and restrictions imposed by a High Court order of 2014 had little to fear — in at least two cases of violations registered by the Mumbai police in 2015, convicts had to pay a fine of Rs 900-1,000.
While the sections of law applied for violating guidelines on the height of the human pyramid and minimum age criteria for participants carry a maximum sentence of three months or a fine of Rs 250 or both, the fine may rise to Rs 1,000 if the convict is held guilty of causing danger to human life or safety.
The Shivaji Park police station registered five such cases in 2014 and 2015 together. “There was one case in 2014 and four in 2015 in connection with violations of guidelines put in place by the judiciary,” said Gangadhar Sonawane, Senior Inspector, Shivaji Park police station. Chargesheets were filed in all five cases before a magistrate’s court.
“Of the five cases, we secured conviction in two,” Sonawane told The Indian Express. “The convicts were ordered to pay fines between Rs 900-1,000,” he said.
One case was against Sai Dutt Krida Mandal in Dadar. The police found that the organiser had placed the Dahi Handi higher than 20 feet and at least seven layers of the human pyramid were formed to reach the Handi. An FIR under sections 336 and 188 was registered against the Mandal’s organiser Krishna Sawant.
Section 336 pertains to an act that endangers human life or safety of others and invites a three-month imprisonment, or a fine of Rs 250, or both. Section 188 deals with disobedience of an order by a public servant and attracts imprisonment of up to one month or a fine of Rs 200. If such disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety, the imprisonment may be for up to six months and the fine may extend to Rs 1,000.
An officer said, “We mostly get convictions as there are video recordings in which the violations can be seen. In several cases, people know that the process is being video recorded and they will be convicted, but it does not deter them since they do not mind paying a fine of Rs 1,000.”