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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeCity NewsNo immersion of Ganesh idols in SGNP, says HC; asks Maha to...

No immersion of Ganesh idols in SGNP, says HC; asks Maha to take all steps to prevent flouting of order

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park SGNP
Copyright: Afternoon Voice/ Akash Nirmal

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to ensure there is no immersion of Ganesh idols inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

A division bench of Justices P B Varale and S M Modak said the state forest department was free to take appropriate steps in law against those persons who attempt to enter the park for immersion of Ganesh idols.

The court also directed the government to deploy additional force at the park to avoid any such activity. It said the state government should safeguard and protect environment as it has to be maintained for generations to come.

“Non-forest activities are not permitted in SGNP as certain rare species of flora and fauna is found there. Human activities are minimised there,” the HC said.

The order was passed in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city-based NGO ‘Mumbai March’, which raised concerns over a newspaper article that quoted a local political leader stating the state forest department had granted permission to the public for immersion of Ganesh idols in waterbodies in SGNP on September 9.

Government pleader Purnima Kantharia, appearing for the state government, said the petition has been filed based on apprehension of a news item quoting a private person and that forest department authorities are vigilant enough to prevent any activity that causes damage to ecology, environment and wildlife.

The HC bench then said it hoped the state government will strengthen its policy to prevent any activity that causes damage to the wildlife, ecology and environment of SGNP.

“We direct the forest dept of the state government to take all steps to prevent any activity to enter the area of SGNP for immersion of idols. If any attempt is made in breach of law then the forest authorities are free to take appropriate steps,” the bench said.

“Considering the peculiar situation that there would be a large flow in activity of visarjan and immersion of idols, the government may deploy additional force so as to prevent any damage to wildlife, ecology and environment,” it added.

In case an attempt is made to mislead the public at large by making certain untrue statements, the state government shall take appropriate steps to prevent such mischief by taking recourse to law, the HC said.

The bench said if a request is made by the forest department for deployment of police force then the concerned police authority shall consider and take appropriate decision.

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