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Legal History Litigations filed on the issue of Ecofriendly Ganesh festival

Technical Committee for Ganesh Festival

The legality surrounding Ganesh idols can vary depending on the region, country, and specific regulations in place. Legal considerations often revolve around factors such as the materials used to make the idols, their size, the environmental impact of their immersion, and any cultural or religious sensitivities associated with their use. Here are some common legal aspects to consider:

  1. Materials Used: In many places, there are regulations or guidelines regarding the materials that can be used to make Ganesh idols. This is often to promote the use of eco-friendly and biodegradable materials like clay (Shadu clay) and discourage the use of non-biodegradable materials like Plaster of Paris (PoP).
  2. Size and Weight Restrictions: Some regions have imposed size and weight restrictions on Ganesh idols to prevent the use of excessively large idols that can lead to difficulties during transportation and immersion. These restrictions are often put in place to ensure public safety and the well-being of the environment.
  3. Environmental Impact: Regulations may focus on the environmental impact of immersing idols in water bodies. Idols made from materials that do not dissolve easily can contribute to water pollution. As a result, there might be bans or guidelines for using eco-friendly materials that minimize environmental harm.
  4. Immersions and Processions: Many places have specific guidelines for the immersion processions that accompany Ganesh festivals. These guidelines might address issues like traffic management, crowd control, and maintaining public order during the festivities.
  5. Permits and Permissions: Depending on the size and scale of celebrations, organizers might need to obtain permits or permissions from local authorities to conduct processions, set up temporary structures, or hold public events associated with Ganesh festivals.
  6. Cultural and Religious Sensitivities: Legal considerations may also touch on cultural and religious sensitivities surrounding the use of Ganesh idols. These might involve respecting the sentiments of the community and ensuring that the traditions are upheld in a respectful and responsible manner.

It’s important to research and understand the local laws and regulations in your specific region if you’re involved in making, using, or immersing Ganesh idols. Adhering to legal requirements and embracing eco-friendly practices can help ensure that cultural and religious celebrations are conducted in a way that is harmonious with both tradition and the environment.

2005 – 2024 LITIGATIONS ON GANESH IDOL ISSUE

Legal histories

CityCourt of lawPetitionerYear of applicationSalient pointsFollow up
HyderabadAndhra Pradesh High Court2005ordered the State Government not to allow immersion of Ganesh idols in the Hussain Sagar lake of Hyderabad
AllahabadHigh courtSmt. Abhilasha Gupta Nandi2006prevention of pollution in river Ganga
Mumbai High CourtJanhit Manch, Bhagwanji Raiyani.2007measures to control water pollution following immersion of lakhs of Ganpati and Durga idols in the sea and other water bodies of the cityHC asked CPCB to frame guidelines
DelhiSupreme CourtSalek Chand Jain2009seeking ban of idol immersion during festivals like Durga Puja and Dussehra
SuratHigh courtKalpesh Barot2010prevent people from immersing idols in water bodies during religious festivities so as to avoid water pollution.Rejected by HC
ChennaiSalem judicial courtV. Piyush Sethia, Salem Citizens’ Forum2012petition, which claimed that he ‘surrendered,’ since, as a responsible member of Salem Citizens’ Forum, he had failed to keep his promise given to stakeholders at the time of rejuvenation that the lake would not be ‘abused’ for purpose other than water holding and ayacut use.dismissed the petition itself pointing out that it had enclosed no supportive documents such as FIR or any specific complaint filed against the petitioner in this regard,
AllahabadHigh courtManoj Srivastava2013no idol would be immersed in the river Ganga and Yamuna
JabalpurNational Green TribunalAdarsh Muni Trivedi2013alleged violation of certain environmental laws in regard to a site which was designated by the respondents for the purpose of immersion of idols and located in close vicinity of river Narmada in Village Bhatoli near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
PuneNational Green TribunalSarang
Yadwadkar
2013This application was
filed against the
alleged environmental
degradation and loss of
drinking water caused
by excessive release of
portable water from
the Khadakvasla Dam
for idol immersion.
The Tribunal directed the
Municipal Corporation to
select new sites for
‘landfills’ to account for
the due disposal of sludge
and to provide for more
artificial tanks (in the
manner as suggested in
the oral judgment).
Additional directions were
given to effectuate the
same.
GujaratNational Green TribunalSureshbhai Keshavbhai Waghvankar & Ors.2014immersion of plaster of paris made idols
ChennaiMadras High Court2015asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to file a memo by Thursday, detailing the places it has chosen or identified in districts for the immersion of Vinayaka idols
GujaratNational Green TribunalDaxin Gujarat
Murtikar
Sangathan
2016Emphasis on violation
of petitioners' rights,
particularly the right to
carry on trade or
business in making
idols with plaster of Paris (PoP) or clay.
Argument against
restrictions on material
and height of idols,
citing rights under
Articles 19 and 21 to
carry on trade or
business.
Court held that
Fundamental rights not
absolute; subject to
reasonable restrictions
balancing individual rights
with public interest; no absolute right to make
idols of specific materials
or sizes.
MumbaiHigh courtSaakshat Relekar2016providing of proper facilities like boats, tarafas to immerse Ganesh idols into the deep sea.
KolkataHigh courtDhar family2016extend the deadline set by the police for immersion of household idols
SuratGujarat High CourtSurat Citizens
Council Trust
2018
The petition sought to
prevent the immersion
of idols into River Tapi
and construct
temporary artificial
ponds with earthen
bunds.
Ordered a complete ban
on immersion of idols
during festivals, to raise
awareness and implement
the 2010 CPCB
guidelines.
NagpurBombay High CourtDhondiba Irba
Namwad
2020The applicant, the
Chief Officer of
Municipal Council
Khamgaon submitted
that no offence has
been committed under
section 295 of IPC and
had no intention to
insult the religion or
defile any sacred
object or object of worship by dumping of Ganesh idols
FIR against the applicants
was quashed stating that
idols of Ganesh hold value
only during the 10-day
festival from Ganesh
Chaturthi till Visarjan
puja. Also, the idols were
made of Plaster of Paris
(POP) which is harmful to water bodies and needs to
be disposed of.
PuneNational Green TribunalShree Ganesh
Murtikar
Pratishthan
2021To seek the quashing
of 2.0(i) of the
Revised Guidelines
for idol immersions
issued by CPCB,
which bans the use
of idols made of
POP.
The Court observed that
the guidelines were issued
by CPCB as an expert
body and per the
precautionary principle of
environmental law and
thereby the petition was
dismissed.
MadrasMadras High CourtPrakash2023Writ Petition filed
under Article 226 of
the Constitution of
India praying to issue a
Writ of Mandamus by
directing respondent
not to interfere with
the right of profession
/business of selling
idols inclusive of Lord
Vinayaga idols which
has been guaranteed
under Article 19(1)(g)
of the Constitution of
India.
The Court noted that the
Clause 2 of the Revised
Guidelines, issued by the
CPCB specifically refers
to idols only if it is made
of natural, biodegradable,
eco-friendly raw materials
The court held that while
immersion of POP idols
was not permitted, it
recognized the petitioner's
right to sell the articles
made by him as
guaranteed under Article
19(1)(g) of the
Constitution of India.
MumbaiBombay High CourtVanashakti2023Petitioners alleged
repeated issue of
environmentally safe
idol immersion in
Mumbai before
Ganesh Chaturthi.
Argued negligence of
MCGM and other
authorities towards
environmental
concerns
Court’s Acknowledgment
of recurring issues and
past court interventions.
Directing MCGM to file
an affidavit detailing steps
taken to comply with
statutory provisions and
guidelines. Seeking
clarification on actions of
Monitoring Committee
mentioned in notification.
Expecting all concerned
authorities to ensure strict
compliance by next
hearing.
BhopalNational Green TribunalKamlesh
Prajapati
2024The petitioner sought
to prohibit the
immersion of
non-eco-friendly idols
in water bodies.
Directed the State
authorities to ensure that
the plastic plates, cups and
other debris are not
dumped into the river
bodies. Non-compliance
or violations of necessary
legal action in addition to
imposition and realization
of environmental
compensation must be
assessed according to
rules.
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