Kolkata, August 26: Durga Puja as a festival is not just a religious event but has a wider secular connotations being a melting pot of different cultures, the Calcutta High Court has observed. The observation was made by a single-judge bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya while hearing a petition from a community Durga Puja organizer seeking permission to organize a puja at a state government owned land.
After being denied permission to hold puja at New Town Fair Ground, a property under the control of state-controlled New Down Development Authority, the community puja organiser moved the High Court on this count. The New Town Development Authority denied permission citing the law under Article 25 of Indian Constitution that does not permit religious events at public places.
However, Justice Bhattacharyya rejected that argument of the New Town Development Authority and stated that it would be unjustified to identify Durga Puja as just a religious event. Although the order was passed on Friday, the copy of that order was uploaded at the website on Saturday.
Denial of permission was not tenable
Justice Bhattacharya also observed that the denial of permission was not tenable since the plot of land proposed for the Puja does not come under the category of street, footpath or playground.
Article 19 of the Indian Constitution
“Every Indian citizen has the right for peaceful assembly without arms and to move freely within the Indian territory. This right is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution,” Justice Bhattacharyya had pointed out.
Petitioners permitted to organise puja at the fairground
The counsel for the Puja organiser Tarunjyoti Tiwari had argued that while the petitioners were willing to pay the requisite fees to the competent authority for organising the denial of permission was not rational. After hearing the argument from all sides, the bench permitted the petitioners to organize the puja at the fairground.