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Ganesh Visarjan : Bombay High Court To Examine Effects Of Biodegradable Idols In Water Bodies

Sharmeen Hakim
27 Aug 2021 3:55 PM GMT
Ganesh Visarjan : Bombay High Court To Examine Effects Of Biodegradable Idols In Water Bodies
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With a ban on Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, the Bombay High Court's Nagpur Bench has decided to suo motu examine the adverse impact of immersion of even biodegradable Ganesh or other idols in water bodies, considering the toxic paints used to decorate them. A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilol will also consider regulating the use of Plaster of Paris in all...

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With a ban on Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, the Bombay High Court's Nagpur Bench has decided to suo motu examine the adverse impact of immersion of even biodegradable Ganesh or other idols in water bodies, considering the toxic paints used to decorate them.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilol will also consider regulating the use of Plaster of Paris in all display objects, as guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, last May, only restrict its use in idols.

Dismissing a plea by PoP idol makers challenging the guidelines, albeit with some relief, the court said the petition raises important issues.

The court decided to revisit the directions issued to the Centre and State last year in Dhondiba Irba Namwad v. State of Maharashtra to put in place appropriate prohibition and regulations as regards use of PoP made objects, use of oil paints and synthetic colours for shading and decorating all kinds of idols.

"It is clear that Guidelines 2020, for the present, do not impose any blanket and all-pervasive ban on PoP objects and artifacts and the ban is restricted to that PoP object, which is treated as God or which is worshipped after it's purchase by a consumer or in other words the ban is on PoP idols," the bench observed.

"There is also an issue about permitting even the idols made up of biodegradable material like clay and the like to be disposed of by immersion in natural or man-made water bodies, the water of which is used for human and animal consumption, as their immersion in such water-bodies is also not without harmful effects on water and food sources due to use of toxic oil paints for decorating these idols," the court said in its order directing the registry to compile a proper petition and place it for consideration on August 31.

The bench said that PoP idol immersion increases the toxicity of major food sources like fish and other aquatic beings and damages the environment; therefore, it was necessary to ensure the 2020 guidelines are implemented with vigour.

Idol Makers Directed To Give An Undertaking

The idol makers claimed they had already manufactured 4.5 lakh idols and the guidelines were sudden.

The court allowed the petitioners to sell idols made from PoP only as "PoP objects", dismissing their plea. The retailers would be required to tell customers that the "objects" were not intended for worship or immersion in any water body.

The petitioners were asked to give an undertaking to the court that they would stop manufacturing PoP idols henceforth.

"This is also subject to condition that petitioners shall give an undertaking to this Court that they shall not sell these objects during present Ganesh festival or any other festival for this year or in future as well and that they shall sell these objects by mentioning the aforestated express conditions, and that they henceforth would stop making of PoP idols of any deity for the purpose of their worship," the court added.

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