Telangana High Court Affirms Ban on PoP Ganesh Idols in Water
In a recent ruling, the Telangana High Court has reaffirmed its stance that Ganesh idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP) cannot be immersed in the Hussain sagar lake or any other water bodies within the city limits. This decision came as a response to a petition filed by the Telangana Ganesh Murti Kalakar Welfare Association and others in 2022, challenging the validity of revised guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that prohibited the making and selling of PoP idols.
The division bench, led by Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice N.V. Shravan Kumar, emphasized that the High Court’s previous orders from 2021, which prohibited the immersion of PoP idols in the city, were still in effect. They sternly warned that violating these court orders would have serious consequences.
To address the issue of PoP idol immersion, the High Court directed several government authorities, including the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), the irrigation department, and the police, to establish alternative arrangements. These arrangements involve the creation of “baby ponds,” artificial ponds specifically designed for the immersion of PoP idols.
The court also suggested to individuals like Mamidi Venu Madhav, who brought the violation of High Court orders to its attention, that they should approach the court with substantial evidence if they encounter any violations.
The legal battle over PoP Idols began in 2021 when the Telangana High Court instructed the government and GHMC to issue a circular by March 31, 2022, banning the use of PoP Ganesh idols, aligning with CPCB guidelines. However, neither the government nor the civic body complied with these orders.
Subsequently, when idol-makers attempted to sell PoP idols, GHMC and the police raised objections, resulting in the 2022 petition by the idol-makers challenging these objections. Last year, the court allowed the sale of PoP idols but declared a blanket ban effective from 2023 onwards.
Since no circular has been issued regarding the ban on PoP idols, the High Court has addressed the matter in conjunction with other petitions that contested the immersion of PoP idols in Hussain sagar lake.
Government counsel Harender Pershad informed the division bench that PoP idols were being immersed in one of the 100 baby ponds, which were artificial ponds specifically created by GHMC for this purpose. Pershad also noted that the revised CPCB guidelines, particularly clause 2.0 (i), had been upheld by the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court. The court has expressed its intent to further examine the status of these revised CPCB guidelines.
In summary, the Telangana High Court has reinforced its prohibition on immersing PoP Ganesh idols in water bodies within the city limits, directing authorities to establish alternative immersion arrangements. This decision stems from a series of legal battles regarding the use of PoP idols and their environmental impact.