CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to lay down guidelines for organisers for installation of idols for Vinayaka Chathurthi festival and also securing power connections.
The First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar disposed of two PILs filed with regard to installation and immersion of idols of the Elephant God and energy theft by organisers in connection with the festivities.
Vinayaka Chathurthi is to be celebrated across the state on August 25 and idols of the deity installed at various locations during the festival would be immersed on September 3.
Referring to the counter already filed by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO), in which it was submitted that 62 enforcement teams were formed to curb energy theft, the judges in their order said, "TANGEDCO has filed an affidavit indicating steps taken by it to detect cases of theft of electricity.
"It is further stated that organisers of such functions should approach the TANGEDCO for temporary service connections and pay consumption charges for the same."
They also said stated that any unauthorised tapping would attract criminal cases, adding therefore the TANGEDCO should ensure that no illegal activities took place.
Observing that no idol can be installed without permission from the Commissioner of Police and in compliance with conditions imposed by him, the bench directed the government to frame guidelines in future for temporary installation of idols.
The Bench, while mentioning some of the mandatory requirements in its order, said, "The authorities shall ensure that no polluting materials such as plaster of Paris shall be used. The idol shall be made of clay and not painted with pollutants.
"They shall ensure that the permitted noise level should not be exceeded at any time. There should be complete ban on sound emitting fire crackers between 10 pm and 6 am. The public address system should also not exceed prescribed decibel limits.
"Organisers shall avoid using inflammable materials for construction of structures. They should provide entrance and exits which are wide enough and they should also obtain clearance of the fire department upon inspection of all electrical equipments," the Bench said.
According to one of the petitioners M Subash, many local groups and political parties have circulated pamphlets with regard to installation of Vinayaka idols throughout Chennai followed by 10 days of pujas.
Claiming that deployment of security personnel, maintaining law and order would be challenging for the state machinery if the idols were permitted to be kept for a long period of 10 to 12 days, the petitioner said routine crime prevention and law and order duties would be seriously affected and compromised.
The petitioner further submitted that despite strict directions, idols were made of plaster of Paris and other material and there were no rules or guidelines for installation and immersion of such idols.
In the other PIL, social activist 'Traffic' Ramaswamy mentioned that organisers indulged in encroachments at various places in the state and Chennai while installing idols and also in power theft.