Monday, May 20, 2024

SLP challenging order permitting sale of Ganesha idols made of Plaster of Paris mentioned before Supreme Court

A Special Leave Petition challenging the order passed by Division Bench of the Madras High Court on staying the operation of the Single Judge’s order permitting the sale of Ganesha idols made of even Plaster of Paris (POP) was metioned before the Supreme Court today.

The matter was presented before the Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan.

The advocate mentioned that an email had already been circulated for the purpose. The CJI, however, said that the matter needs to be examined first.

The Senior Advocate told the Court that the Judgement was passed yesterday night by the Division Bench of the High Court. It was also added that the Single Judge had passed an order on Friday. The single judge had permitted the sale.

The order by the Division Bench observed that the idol cannot be sold. The Single Judge had provided arrangements for sale for the purpose of immersion.

In a special sitting on Sunday, the Division Bench of the Madras High Court had ordered that there shall not be any sale or manufacturing of Vinayaka idol made using Plaster of Paris.

The argument that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines are not enforceable without the State framing rules was rejected by the court.

The Court also held that the order holding guidelines would apply only to immersion and not on sale of idols cannot be sustained.

The SLP was filed by Advocate K. V. Muthu Kumar on behalf of a Rajasthan-based artisan, who was prevented from selling Vinayaka idols. It submitted that the State Government has violated the Rights of the Petitioner under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution by harassing and threatening criminal action against the Petitioner for merely manufacturing idols.

As per the SLP, the petitioner has been deprived of his right to carry on his profession and conduct business.

It has also been submitted that it has been presumed that all purchasers prior to Vinayaka Chaturthi are purchasing it to immerse it in the river.

The SLP states that the State has nowhere averred as to how the purchasers for purposes of immersion are distinguished from casual purchasers who would purchase the idol to be kept as a showpiece or for purposes other than immersion.

The matter of concern was that the entire gamut of manufacturing has been tarred with the same brush of immersion in a natural river and hence, the State has chosen to attack the Fundamental Right under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

The SLP read that the Single Judge rightly construed “reasonable restriction” to be maintenance of a register containing the names of the purchasers which can be open to inspection.

It has been further highlighted in the SLP that the ban extended on Plaster of Paris is not to be confused with manufacture of idols, but only with immersion in the water bodies.

The plea submitted that the single-judge order only prohibited immersion of non-ecofriendly idols and had rightly observed the distinction of the interplay of various Fundamental Rights involved.


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