Declining to consider Maharashtra’s ‘Dahi Handi’ festival as a sport, the Supreme Court Wednesday refused to modify its order that puts a cap of 20 feet for the height of human pyramid in the ritual observed on Janmashtami.
“Has it (festival) brought any medal in the Olympics? I belong to the city (Mumbai). I would have been happy if it had brought any medal,” observed a bench led by Justice Anil R Dave when the court was requested to consider the festive activity as a sport.
The bench added that this ritual had caused serious injuries to participants, particularly in their spinal chords. “We are not modifying it (ceiling) for the time being… to increase the height is very scary,” it remarked.
The court was hearing a plea by a Mumbai-based organisation that capping the height of human pyramid would take the adventure out of the festival, which has become a popular and competitive sport in the city.
The counsel for Jogeshwari-based ‘Jai Jawan Krida Mandal Govinda Pathak’ said the highest height of the human pyramid at 43.79 feet has found mention in the Guinness Book of World Records and capping it would be “unfair”.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra, also favoured relaxing the restriction. But the bench said it would not modify its order.