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Supreme Court permits symbolic immersion of Ganesh idols, flays Telangana for not abiding by High Court order

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The Supreme Court has allowed the symbolic immersion of Ganesh Idol this year, but gave a stern warning to the state of Telangana to abide by the High Court’s direction from next year

A Bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant passed the order on a petition filed by the state of Telangana, challenging the High Court order, which had banned the immersion of Ganesh Idols made of plaster of paris (POP) in Hussain Sagar Lake and other lakes in the city, keeping in mind pollution of Hussain Sagar Lake as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will allow this year but from next year, the government will give the undertaking that immersion will not take place. We direct the state to file an affidavit in view of the above undertaking and we’ll allow this as a last chance to use this pond for immersion. We direct the state to file a compliance report to the High Court,”

-the Apex Court ordered.

The bench gave the above direction, when Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for Telangana, assured the bench, “We will symbolically allow the idols to be submerged in water and then immediately we will lift the idol by crane and dispose it off at another place.”

Today, Justice Hema Kohli was also on the bench but she recused herself from this matter because earlier, she had passed some orders, while she was the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court

SG Mehta had yesterday mentioned the matter before the bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, praying that the directions were passed last minute by the High Court. “We would comply with the order, but aggrieved by one or two which can’t be implemented immediately. Milords can tweak it for this year.”

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On September 13, a bench of Telangana High Court, led by Acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and also comprising Justice T. Vinod Kumar, had banned the immersion of Ganesha idols made of POP.

The High Court had passed a slew of directions, including:

Permission for immersion of POP Ganesh idols (i) in baby ponds already constructed by the GHMC

(ii) separate areas / ponds which do not result / spread the water pollution into the main water body. It also directed the Respondent authorities to explore the use of inflatable rubber dam wall as was used while carrying on dredging operations in the Hussain Sagar Lake earlier by encircling the area for immersion of idols as an alternative.

It directed that authorities shall not permit immersion of Ganesh idols from the Tank Bund side of the Hussain Sagar Lake. Further, immersion can be permitted by respondent Nos.1 to 11 of non-POP idols, which do not have synthetic paint only through the other side of the Hussain Sagar Lake, for example, P.V.Ghat, Secretariat Road and Sanjeevaiah Park Road.

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