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Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Plaster of Paris Ganesh Idols, Citing Environmental Concerns

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      19 September, 2023 05:57 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Plaster of Paris Ganesh Idols Citing Environmental Concerns

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a plea challenging a Madras High Court division bench order of September 17 stopping the sale of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra said the court will not interfere with the Madras High Court order.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the petitioner Prakash, contended that his client has made 150 such idols now and these are Plaster of Paris idols.

"What is the use of selling idols which cannot be immersed," the bench said.

Divan said the Central Pollution Control Board permitted that idols can be disposed of in artificial water bodies.

The bench said the petitioner could have used natural clay etc, while declining to entertain the petition.

Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu Amit Anand Tiwari defended the High Court's order.

In his plea filed through advocate K V Muthu Kumar, Prakash, a resident of Rajasthan, said the police personnel prevented him from selling any idols especially during the onset of Vinayakar Chaturthi, after which he approached the high court.

“The  single judge of the High Court was pleased to pass an order permitting the Petitioner to make eco-friendly idols within the rules and regulations while also upholding regulations restricting the immersion of idols that are made of toxic and polluting substances in the river water,” his plea said.

Against this well-reasoned order, a writ appeal was filed before the division bench of the high court along with an application to stay the order passed by the single Judge.

“After hearing the parties, the Division Bench allowed the application for stay in the Writ Appeal and directed the Respondents appropriate action against anyone to prevent manufacturing, selling or immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris or plastics,” the plea pointed out.

The Petitioner contended that the Respondents have violated the Fundamental Rights of the Petitioner under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India by harassing and threatening criminal action against him for merely manufacturing idols.

"The petitioner has been deprived of his right to carry on his profession and conduct business. To guise this police highhandedness as a ‘reasonable restrictions’ under Article 19(6) of the Constitution of India would amount to arbitrariness," the plea stated.

In this case, it is presumed that all purchasers prior to Vinayaka Chaturthi are purchasing it to immerse it in the river. The State has nowhere averred as to how the purchasers for the purposes of immersion are distinguished from casual purchasers who would purchase the idol to be kept as show piece or for purposes other than immersion, it stated. 



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