Thursday, August 25, 2011

HC allows PoP Ganesha idols ,Quashes Surat Police Commissioner’s Ban On Plaster Of Paris Use

Ahmedabad: In a move that will be a big relief for idol makers ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, the Gujarat high court on Thursday struck down the notification issued by Surat police commissioner prohibiting the use of plaster of paris (PoP) in idols.
The issue had gripped cities of Ahmedabad and Surat which have several Ganesh installations because the PoP idols were immersed in the rivers, polluting the water. Ahmedabad police commissioner allowed artisans to make Ganesh idols from plaster of Paris this year, but said the ban would be effective from next year.
A group of 20 artisans, engaged in making idols of lord Ganesha and other gods and goddesses had moved the court in May challenging the police commissioner’s decision. The court had sought an explanation from the commissioner, the Surat civic body, Gujarat Pollution Control Board as well as the state minister of forest and environment.
The Commissioner’s notification invoked the power of section 144 of CrPC and restricted the use of clay and PoP in making idols in the city of Surat and made it an punishable offence. The notification was aimed at bringing down the level of water pollution, as clay and POP idols are immersed in rivers and water bodies during festivals.
In their petition, the idol makers submitted that PoP is a natural product, and while preparing the idols, no chemicals or toxic colours are used. They argued that the powers of section 144 can be used only in urgent situation, but no such urgency existed in this case. There is no rationale or reasonable basis for imposing this prohibition in Surat only.
After hearing the case, justice Abhilasha Kumari quashed the notification on the ground that while invoking provisions of section 144, the authority has expressed no opinion on what urgent situation has arisen that such a speedy remedy was required. The judge observed that the notification cannot justify how the use of PoP in preparation of idols and their immersion in rivers and other water bodies has resulted in imminent danger to human life, health and safety.

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