The Dahi Handi festival this year will take place on August 15
The Bombay High Court today eased restrictions on the Dahi Handi festival which annually sees several young children getting injured. Accepting the state government's assertion that Dahi Handi is an "adventure sport", the court agreed to lower the age limit for participating 'Govindas' to 14.
Earlier, another bench of the court had prohibited the participation of Govindas who were minors. The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 defines a child as a person under 14 years of age.
The court however refused to decide on the height restriction on the human pyramid saying that it would be an encroachment on the legislature's jurisdiction and the legislature is free to enact on the appropriate height of the human pyramid. Another bench of the Bombay High Court had earlier capped the height at 20 feet.
While disposing off the Public Interest Litigation, the court however stressed on the need to take precautions like safety nets, belts and cushions to reduce the impact of a participant falling. The court also ordered the implementation of precautionary measures like a stand-by ambulance and insurance cover of upto Rs 10 lakh for the participating Govindas.
The popular public festival has the participants re-enacting the myth of the young Lord Krishna stealing butter or curds from a pot hanging from the ceiling, or Dahi Handi. With nearly 1,000 mandals and Govinda brigades, Mumbai is one of the biggest centres for Dahi Handi celebrations on Janmashtami that marks Lord Krishna's birth. The festival this year falls on August 15.