Supreme Court refuses to interfere with the Madras HC order disallowing the sale of Ganesh idols made using Plaster of Paris

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Today, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with an order passed by the Madras HC disallowing the sale of Ganesh idols made using Plaster of Paris (POP). Earlier in the morning, the matter was mentioned for urgent listing by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan considering the fact that the Ganesh Chaturthi is to be celebrated tomorrow (September 19, 2023) and idols are immersed as a part of the festival. Today the case was heard by a three-judge bench including Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice JB Pardiwala. While dismissing the matter, CJI told Divan “You could have used natural clay, sorry, Dismissed.”

Today, the bench was hearing a petition against the decision of the Madras High Court to stop the sale of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP). The decision was given by the Madras HC in a special sitting on Sunday stating that, “there shall be an order of interim stay of operation of the order [of the Single Judge]. The appellants may take appropriate action against anyone to prevent manufacturing, selling or immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris or plastics, etc. in adherence to the revised guidelines.” CJI asked SA Divan “How can that be without immersion?” 

During the court proceedings, SA Divan submitted that the petitioner is an artisan and has been making the idols for years. The sale of idols was stopped by the police on Friday (September 15). In context with this, the petitioner approached the Madurai Bench which stated that the sale of idols cannot be stopped with their immersion in waterbodies was prohibited. The judgment was further stayed by a special sitting on Sunday. He further mentioned that the Central Pollution Control Board guidelines were only regarding the immersion of the Ganesh idols made of POP.

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