The Supreme Court on Thursday barred children below the age of 12 from participating in forming human pyramids on Dahi Handi – an earthen pot filled with butter milk – festival event largely celebrated in Mumbai on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami that will be on Monday.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, while barring children below the age of 12 years from participating in human pyramid, put on hold the Bombay High Court order that had said that children below the age of 18 years would not participate in human pyramids.
“I have seen it for 13 years. These MLAS come and give awards of Rs.1 lakh or so and young people go crazy. So many people fall down,” said Chief Justice Lodha who was a judge of the Bombay High Court from 1994 to 2008.
The apex court order came on a petition by Amit Jaising Saraiya and others challenging the August 11 order of Bombay High Court which excluded children below 18 years of age from participating in human pyramids. The court issued notice to Maharashtra government and other authorities in the state seeking their response in eight weeks.
The high court by its August 11 order had asked the Maharashtra government to make changes in its circular prohibiting children below 18 years of age from participating in Dahi Handi show. The state government by its earlier circular had prohibited children below 12 years from participating human pyramids.
The high court had also asked the state government to amend Bombay Police Act and the Maharashtra Police Act which define dangerous activities to include the human pyramids formed during Janmashtami celebrations thereby making it a penal offence.
The apex court said that it would be incumbent upon the organisers of the events to ensure that the safety measures recommended by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, are adhered to during the Dahi Handi event.