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Bombay High Court orders municipalities to register cases and take action against anyone who violates the law


The Bombay High Court has declared washing vehicles and dumping nirmalya (flowers and other paraphernalia from worship rituals) into rivers an offence and ordered all municipalities in the state to register cases and take action if anyone is found indulging in such acts

The order also makes a reference to the practice of immersing idols in rivers and has ordered that idols should only be immersed in artificial tanks.

The order calls on municipalities to install containers for dumping nirmalya near river banks during festivals. It also says that municipalities should appoint police squads to guard river banks. The squad should take action against anyone found dumping garbage into the river under the Bombay Police Act. The bench has asked the state government to issue any guidelines required in this regard.

The order came in a case regarding cleaning-up of the Chandrabhaga river in Pandharpur in Maharashtra. But since the problem is state-wide, the court extended the order to the entire state, says Asim Sarode, who represented the petitioning organisation, Manavi Vishta Vahatuk Virodhi Sanghatana. The organisation opposes manual scavenging.

Speaking to Down To Earth, Sarode said that while the order regarding nirmalya and garbage is quite relevant, it is not likely to be effective in cases of idol immersion since the mention of idol immersion was just a passing reference. “A more exhaustive court order will be required to ban idol immersion,” he said.


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