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Janmashtami: Supreme Court refuses to lift cap on height of 'Dahi-handi' pyramid

In A Blow To The Organisers Of The Famous ‘Dahi-handi’ Festival, Supreme Court On Wednesday Refused To Modify Its Order Capping At 20 Feet The Height Of The Human Pyramid In The Ritual Observed During ‘Janmasthmi’ Across Maharashtra.

PTI | Updated on: 24 Aug 2016, 05:11:18 PM
Human pyramid in Dahi Handi festival in Mumbai (Image source: Getty Images)

New Delhi :

In a blow to the organisers of the famous ‘Dahi-handi’ festival, Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to modify its order capping at 20 feet the height of the human pyramid in the ritual observed during ‘Janmasthmi’ across Maharashtra.

“No, we are not modifying it for the time being,” a bench comprising justices A R Dave, U U Lalit and L Nageswara Rao said while declining the plea of a Mumbai-based organisation that capping of the height of human pyramid would take the “adventure” out of the festival which has become a “popular and competitive” sport in the western megapolis.

The court, on August 17, had refused to relax conditions put by the High Court like barring youths below 18 years of age from participating in ‘Dahi-Handi’ festival in Maharashtra and capping the height of the human pyramid at 20 feet.

At the outset, the bench did not agree with the contention that the festival had the colour of popular sport and there should be no cap on the height of the pyramid in view of the fact that the court has already barred youth below 18 years of age from taking part in it.

“Has it (festival) brought any medal in the Olympic? I belong to the city (Mumbai). I would have been happy if it had brought any medal,” Justice Dave said, adding that this ritual sometimes caused serious injuries to participants, particularly in organs like the spinal chord.

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”.

More than 1500 organisations are looking in anticipation at this court as the capping of the height would take away the competitiveness from the sport, he said.

However, the bench asked the counsel: “you cannot give assurance on behalf of other 1499 organisations that due care would be taken. Moreover, it has been claimed that 1500 people got injured in this function last year. Is it correct? How many people got injured last year.”

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra, said, “as a matter of fact, risk factor is there in every sport” and there was no data on record with regard to the number of injured persons.

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First Published : 24 Aug 2016, 05:03:00 PM