Dahi handi: Contempt plea against senior official, others

Child labour laws violated; State fails to protect participants, says petition

Updated - September 07, 2018 08:26 am IST

Published - September 07, 2018 12:24 am IST - Mumbai

Mumbai: Thane: September 03, 2018 : People are creating the human pyramid to break the Dahi Handi in Thane on Monday. Photo by:Vibhav Birwatkar

Mumbai: Thane: September 03, 2018 : People are creating the human pyramid to break the Dahi Handi in Thane on Monday. Photo by:Vibhav Birwatkar

A contempt petition has been filed at the Bombay High Court on Thursday against the Chief Secretary of Home, Commissioner of Police, Charity Commissioner and head of the Dahi Handi Samiti for not complying with court orders with respect to the dahi handi celebrations.

Swati Patil had filed a criminal public interest litigation highlighting how the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act and other laws are violated during the celebrations. She said in the previous order, the court had observed that the consideration of the height of the dahi handi pyramid falls exclusively within the domain of the legislature.

The additional solicitor general had even given a statement to court that no untoward incident would take place during dahi handi and that the State will comply with the Act. The State also said it will ensure children below 14 years of age do not participate, but this has been violated. “All the authorities are guilty of wilful and deliberate disobedience and defiance of the court order as also contempt of the order,” the petition said.

She points out that children below the age of 12 have participated in dahi handi and been injured. As per an HC order dated August 7, 2017, the State was required to ensure that various safety measures were taken to prevent accidents during dahi handi and if they do take place, to take immediate remedial measures like providing immediate medical aid to persons who are victims of the accident.

However, none of these have been complied with, it said. The court had stated that the organiser has to provide a helmet and safety belts to the ‘Govindas’ and cushioned layers at the venue, but this was not followed either. The matter will be heard on September 7.

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