NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a five-judge bench a curative petition…
HT Correspondent, New Delhi: The Calcutta high court pulled up the West Bengal government for its
“arbitrary” directive to limit Durga idol immersions so as to not clash with Muharram processions in a recent hearing.
A single-member bench of justice Dipankar Dutta noted that the government’s directive was a “clear endeavour” to “appease the minority section”, especially as there has never been a state or Centre-declared holiday on the eve of Muharram to prepare for the tazia (processions), according to a report by the Indian Express.
“There has been a clear endeavour on the part of the state government to pamper and appease the minority section of the public at the cost of the majority section without there being any plausible justification. The reason therefore is, however, not far to seek,” the court said.
Justice Dutta conceded that we did “live in difficult times” in which it would be “dangerous to mix politics with religion”, but noted that governments should not take decisions that pit “one community against another”.
“Intolerance would rise in the event of such arbitrary decision,” the judge said in the October 6 ruling after hearing a petition by three parties — two households and an apartment complex – which sought to immerse their idols by 8:30 pm on Bijoya Dashami.
Sometime in early August, the Mamta Banerjee government announced that there would be no idol immersion post 4 pm on Bijoy Dashami, the day of the Durga idol immersion. This year the day falls on October 11, a day before tazia takes place.
Given the restrictions, bigger puja pandals have decided to immerse their idols after Muharram.
The court directed civic agencies, including the police and civil administration, to identify routes for the immersion processions and for the tazia, while making sure that the routes did not overlap.