HC bars immersion of Plaster of Paris idols in Hyderabad's lakes

The petitioners argued that these guidelines violated their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, 21, 25, and 300-A of the Constitution.

Published: 26th September 2023 10:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2023 11:43 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  The Telangana High Court on Monday ordered the State government to ensure that no idols made of Plaster of Paris are immersed in either the Hussainsagar or any other water body in Hyderabad.

Directing Special Government Pleader Harender Pershad to submit a compliance report to the court before the next scheduled hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice NV Shravan Kumar explicitly instructed the Commissioner of Police to oversee that the immersion of PoP idols takes place only in the baby ponds created by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). 

The court was hearing a plea filed by the Telangana Ganesh Murti Kalakaar Welfare Association, represented by its president Raj Kumar Singh and eight others, challenging Clause 2.0 of the Revised Guidelines for idol immersion issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, which prohibits the making and immersion of PoP.

The petitioners argued that these guidelines violated their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, 21, 25, and 300-A of the Constitution.

A similar challenge was previously presented before a bench of the Bombay High Court (Ajay Sadashiv Vaishampayan v. Union of India). In that instance, the bench rejected the challenge.

On Monday, the court also referenced a recent development in the Madras High Court, where a bench, in a plea, held that individuals have no right to manufacture, sell, or immerse idols made of PoP or plastic, in adherence to the revised guidelines. A special leave petition was filed before the Supreme Court against this order which was dismissed by a three-judge bench of the apex court on September 18, 2023.

The court adjourned the matter for three weeks. The immersion of Ganesh idols is scheduled for September 28, 2023. 

With the Telangana High Court issuing directions to the State government to not immerse the Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesh Idols in Hussain Sagar and other water bodies in the city on Monday, the members of Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi (BGUS) and other organisations staged a protest on the Tank Road Road on Monday.

They protested against the court’s verdict and said that they would go ahead with Ganesh idols immersion in Hussainsagar. The situation became worrisome when other organisers of Ganesh mandapams too joined the protest and sat on the Tank Bund road. There were arguments between the BGUS members and police. Later, the police took the protestors into custody. 

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