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High Court removes age and height restrictions on Dahi Handi celebrations

Ahead of the Dahi Handi events that are organized as part of Krishna Janmashtami celebrations, the Bombay High Court has refused to issue restrictions for height of the human pyramids or age of the participants. However the court has accepted the government’s proposal that the age of participants should not be less than 14 years of age. The court said that matters concerning religious aspects need to be decided by the state government. The court said that this is the domain of the legislature and the court cannot be seen as interfering with the powers of the legislature. The decision was pronounced by a bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Makarand Karnik. The bench also said that accidents can happen anywhere, even in a toilet. “Is it for us to take care of all situations under 226? Accidents can happen even in a toilet,” said Justice Gavai.

The court was responding to two public interest litigations (PIL) that had pointed out to the safety concerns related to children who participate in such events. Earlier, in 2014, the high court had ordered the state government to raise the age limit to 18 years and fix the maximum height of dahi handi to be 20 feet. However, the Supreme Court had later asked the High Court to hear the matter afresh. In the recent hearings, the state government said that it will fix the minimum age of participants to 14 years.

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