The Bombay High Court on Monday accepted Maharashtra government's statement that children below 14 years will not be allowed to participate in the dahi handi revelry.
The HC also declined to issue any directions pertaining to the age and height restrictions for the dahi handi celebrations. The court observed that it is for the state government to bring laws in that respect.
"If we enter into that arena, we would be encroaching on the domain of the legislature," said a bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Makarand Karnik. The bench said accidents can occur anywhere. "Is it for us to take care of all situations under (article) 226? Accidents can happen even in a toilet," remarked Justice Gavai.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the state government. He told the court that as per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, children below 14-years of age will not be allowed to participate in the festival referring to the state government’s decision taken in August last year that declared dahi handi as an adventure sport.
The court was hearing two public interest litigations (PILs) that expressed concern over the safety of children who participate in the festivities and form human pyramids.
On August 11, 2014 the High Court had directed the state government to raise the minimum age of participants to 18 years and to cap the height of human pyramids to 20 feet or four layers. The Supreme Court had on August 17, 2016 refused to relax the conditions set by the High Court like barring youths below 18 years of age from participating in the dahi handi festival and limiting the height of the human pyramid at 20 feet.