In a blow to the Mamata Banerjee led Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday revoked the government decision to fix the timings of the Durga Puja immersions.
The Mamata government had previously announced that owing to Muharram, restrictions would be placed on idol immersions from 10 PM on 30th September and they would be totally banned on 1st October. This order was passed by a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon.
Earlier we had reported that the High Court had pulled up the Mamata government over this decision. The Court had then drawn parallels between West Bengal Police and Maharashtra Police in terms of handling festivals of different communities falling on the same day, which didn’t go down well with Mamata.
Now after putting a stay on the order, the court stated that immersions would be allowed on all days till 12 AM. The Court also asked the police administration to chart out different routes for the Durga idol immersion and Muharram processions.
The court also sternly stated that the government was exercising extreme power without any basis and asked whether it could pass such an arbitrary order just because it is the state.
Justice Tiwari also questioned the state’s counsel as to whether there has been any form of trouble in the past owing to the clash of Durga Puja immersion and Muharram dates. The counsel then seems to have replied in the negative. The judge didn’t take it kindly and observed that:
If there is nothing in the past and you say I have apprehension or dream that some problem may occur. This will not do
Such a clash of dates had happened during the last year’s Durga Puja when also the Mamata government had put restrictions on the immersion. Then too the High Court had pulled up the Mamata government by observing that the directive was a clear endeavour to appease the minority section. The court had later provided a 2 hour breather for the immersion of household pujas.