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Calcutta HC revises order that allowed 15 members inside Durga Puja pandals at one time

Rida Shaikh

After a petition filed by prominent puja organizers in Kolkata on Tuesday, the Calcutta High Court has revised its order that earlier declared all Durga Puja pandals as no-entry zones. The Calcutta High Court also increased the number of people who are allowed inside the pandal at one time.

The Calcutta High court increased the number of puja committee members who can enter the pandal. It also allowed the dhakis (drummers) to enter the premises of the Durga Puja pandal. As per the High Court’s revised order, more members will now be allowed to enter the Durga Puja pandals to participate in the puja and the rituals. In its previous order, the Calcutta High Court had allowed only 15-25 members to be present inside the pandal at a given time. Now the number has been increased to 45 for big Durga Puja pandals. The puja organizing committees are expected to give a list of sixty names in advance.

The Court has given the provision to change the names in the list every day and it can be done so until 8 in the morning. The Calcutta High Court furthermore added that only fifteen people will be allowed inside small pandals and 45 people will be allowed in the case of big Durga Puja pandals. It also stated that not more than 10 members will be allowed to enter at one time.

The petition stated, “The applicants state that this court may appreciate that the directions as given in the order dated 19th October, may not be workable in the view of variable in-situ issues which the individual organizers are required to address whole holding the Durga Puja in the locality.”

Saswata Basu, General Secretary of the Forum for Durgotsab, said, “There are some practical problems as nearly 80% of the pujas in Kolkata are held in lanes which are not more than 18-24 feet wide. If they put up barricades, there would be no space left for visitors to pass through and people will virtually have to go back without seeing the Puja.”


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